Review: Cide Road Goes Sparkling with “Spritzel”

Covers Products: Blueberry + Honeysuckle, Strawberry + Basil, Watermelon + Mint

Switchel, which is, at least in the case of Cide Road, a beverage that features water, vinegar, and maple syrup, is something that has in recent years gained attention as an up and coming beverage category. However, it has yet to crack the mainstream. One suspicion we have is that the product category bears similarities to a juice cocktail in that the products are relatively high in both added sugar and calories.

With Spritzel, Cide Road is clearly hoping to change that. The USDA Organic certified product line is both low in calories (35 per can) and sparkling, which creates a whole new experience and use occasion for the brand. They are launching with three flavors, Blueberry + Honeysuckle, Watermelon + Mint, and Strawberry + Basil, and the product is packaged in a slim 12 oz. can.

In terms of design, they’ve done a nice job of creating something sharp looking and complementary to their flagship non-carbonated line. The design is mostly black and silver (the unpainted silver of the can), while color is used only on the elements that correspond to the flavor, including the text on the bottom of the can and the graphics on the top. The copy is straightforward, although you have to know what a switchel is to really understand it quickly (otherwise you’ll have to read the back of the can). If there’s any suggestion that we could make, it’s this: make the low calorie content a part of the primary message and try and make a bit more differentiation between the color palettes for each flavor.

Moving on to what’s inside the can, the flavor for these products is very much that of a sparkling water or seltzer, with the tart flavor that is typical of switchel appearing only in the background instead of front and center (for that, you’ll have to drink their non-carbonated line). The fruit flavors are, with the exception of the strawberry flavoring in the Strawberry + Basil variety, balanced and clean, although they do steal a little bit too much of the limelight in our opinion.

Furthermore, the differences between the three are pretty nuanced, which seems to be  due to the  complex nature of the flavors as opposed to ones that are more straightforward and simple (e.g. lemon lime or orange). That said, we feel as though there should be something, such as a touch more vinegar flavor, that helps make this product have its own unique flavor. Otherwise, what it’s conceptually offering and what’s actually inside the can don’t totally seem in sync, which might impact consumers’ willingness to spend on what is presumably a premium priced product.

Overall, we think that Spritzel is a potentially game changing path for Cide Road and for switchel in general. Even though there’s room for improvement, this product is a showcase for something that feels much more on trend and better positioned than its non-carbonated counterpart. There’s certainly a growing demand for low-calorie and better-for-you carbonated offerings and this product seems like a nice starting point for what could ultimately grab a piece of the action.

 


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