Cider Corner: How Crush Series Was a Strategic Innovation for Citizen Cider

Citizen Cider’s Crush series has emerged as a strategic innovation for the Burlington, Vermont company, capitalizing on the success of seasonals like its Strawberry Crush.

Mimosa Crush was carefully positioned for winter and spring, and Justin Heilenbach, co-founder of Citizen Cider, explained that a calculated approach to align the brand with with holidays and brunch trends was vital for its sales approach.

“We knew mimosas are a staple of holiday parties and brunches, so the timing felt ideal,” Heilenbach said. “We created the timeline on our brand calendar, where we had already planned to sell Strawberry and Raspberry Crush in the warmer months. We are constantly coming up with new cider ideas and tasting new flavor combinations, and our brand calendar helps us align new ciders with a seasonal release schedule that makes sense.  

“As we go into our second year of Mimosa Crush, our data shows that we had the timing right.”

In terms of the technical aspects, crafting Mimosa Crush posed challenges in finding the right balance of flavors. To enhance the mimosa profile, the cider Heilenbach explained it was made with Champagne yeast, emphasizing orange-forward notes for an authentic mimosa taste.

“The yeast helped create mimosa qualities, but we also needed to make it orange-forward to nail the flavor,” he said. “Orange juice gives the body, while the cold press orange peel oil gives the bright citrus nose, and we added in the pineapple juice for complexity.

“We developed multiple trials, varied the addition rates of all the ingredients, and tasted them with feedback from our leadership team until we found the perfect mix.”

As Mimosa Crush gains traction, its association with a popular drink becomes a focal point in business expansion strategies, with the sales team tasked to drive growth through targeted promotions and engagements with key accounts.

“People quickly understand the concept and are excited to try our twist on it,” Heilenbach said. “The innovation and branding are there, and the taste closes the sale.

“We have challenged our sales team to put together brunch promotions and samplings at local area restaurants to help reinforce the concept that this isn’t an average cider and can be a perfect brunch staple.”

For marketing and sales strategies, Mimosa Crush is still gaining momentum, intending to expand into new accounts in 2024. The association with the popular mimosa drink naturally piques the interest of buyers, retailers, and consumers. The cidery has emphasized innovation and branding, challenging the sales team to create brunch promotions and samplings at local restaurants. The goal is to convey that Mimosa Crush is not an average cider but a unique and perfect brunch staple, with both innovation and taste contributing to its appeal.

Photo courtesy Citizen Cider; Illustration done with Adobe AI

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