Refreshment in a Can

By Candice Wagener

Tom Dufek has slung his fair share of mixed drinks while working as a bartender for the past eight years at Merchant and Lucille. So, it was a natural fit for him to launch Plain Spoke Cocktail Co. in August 2018, offering the experience of a craft cocktail in a portable can.


Plain Spoke currently offers two classic cocktails. The Moscow Mule blends vodka, lime juice, ginger and cane sugar, and the Bourbon Smash is a mixture of bourbon, cane sugar and lemon juice. Unlike other canned cocktails, Plain Spoke is using real ingredients and real spirits, not creating malt beverages.

“I wanted to mimic the experience of getting a cocktail…of the same quality [offered at] nice bars and restaurants,” says Dufek.


Dufek and his silent business partner got married around the same time and commiserated with each other that “the options were pretty underwhelming” for ready-made cocktail offerings. Dufek held strong to his belief in a better way “to replicate that experience of the cocktail bar but do it in more of a convenient package.” While part of his motivation was having the selfish pleasure of enjoying a good drink himself, he knew Wisconsinites would also be thirsty for a better beverage they could just throw into a cooler and enjoy by the lake, on camping trips and the like.


The company’s name encapsulates its mission: Plain Spoke Cocktail Co. produces simple cocktails with quality ingredients that speak for themselves, harkening back to times when beverages weren’t flashy or overly-sophisticated, just good drinking material. Plain Spoke
is gaining momentum, with a recent expansion in distribution to Minnesota and its acquisition of Two Tall Distilling. Additional plans for a tasting room in Madison are in the works. Until then, Plain Spoke will continue to make summer easier by offering real cocktails you can enjoy with just the pop of a tab.

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