CODO: How important is story to today’s cocktail drinker?
Tom: See above haha. I think more than ever consumers are looking for brands they can believe in. We hear it all the time from our retailers. They love being able to tell a story to their customers and it makes it so much easier to get behind a brand.
CODO: Have you run into any challenges related to not having a brick and mortar location for people to experience?
Tom: Definitely. Technically, we have one, but it’s at the end of a dead end road in the middle of nowhere and not an inviting, hospitable experience. Brick and mortar locations are a great way to let people continue to interact with the brand and also a center for innovation. That being said, we are looking to change that soon. Announcement forthcoming?
CODO: Related question: word on the street is you’re buying a distillery. Is that to own the entire production process or to provide a more immersive experience? Or, both?
Tom: Yep, we closed on that in June. It was mainly to be able to own the process and not have to outsource it to others. We take a lot of pride in being able to tell people there is no flavor company or co-packer. We mix, can and create every cocktail ourselves in our own facility. The quality is better and it makes the process more authentic. It also give us the ability to ramp things up or zig zag a little as the opportunity provides. Lastly, we are able to take on contract work as well. We know firsthand how hard it is to launch a brand with a small budget so we wanted to be able to offer that to others and use the mistakes we made as a launching pad for others.
CODO: What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened since founding Plain Spoke?
Tom: How hard making the shift from making one cocktail for a single guest to thousands of cocktails at a time has been. I always thought, we are just taking that experience and scaling it up but it’s so much more complex than that. It has been very fun, but a lot more challenging than we anticipated.