Business is "Sweet" at Citizen Cider

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Citizen Cider

Citizen Cider was founded in 2011 by three friends, Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson. All discontented with their day jobs, together they set out to make authentic craft cider the way it's always been made on farms in New England for hundreds of years. 

"Citizen Cider is as much about Vermont business and agricultural communities as anything else. Early on Citizen Cider teamed up with Stan and Mary Pratt, the owners of Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, VT. Together, we built a successful model for making true craft cider, from the farm to the glass. There was essentially no infrastructure in the state of Vermont to support our business model. Consequently, we set out to build a network of growers in Vermont and New York, and Happy Valley Orchard built a 7,000 square foot pressing facility at the orchard. Meanwhile, Citizen Cider built an 18,000 square foot facility on Pine Street in Burlington, to receive, ferment and package cider products. In five years we have grown from an annual production of 5,000 gallons to well over 500,000 in 2016, with plans underway to expand to 650,000 gallons of production in 2017.

At less than a year old, Citizen Cider needed capital to pursue our cider-making dreams. Community National Bank (CNB) and VP and Commercial Loan Officer Justin Bourgeois, took a chance on us with a small equipment loan. We've continued to grow together over the years, with CNB lending on three substantial expansions including the new facility on Pine Street. None of this would have been possible without the true partnership that can only come from a community-based bank.

Finally, it would be an oversight not to mention the good people of Vermont who've continuously supported our brand. Vermont is such a special place for a business like Citizen Cider because of the fierce loyalty displayed towards local brands and the ambassador- type relationship that Vermonters have towards our business.

It's in this confluence of business and agricultural cooperation and consumer support that Citizen Cider has found success in the great state of Vermont!" - Justin Heilenbach, President

Helping Citizen Cider Grow

"I was introduced to Citizen Cider by mutual friends. After sampling their products, I wanted to help this business grow. I recall saying 'we need to make more of this now: We got in early on their growth and because of this, needed to leverage some enhancements to finance their growth. This came by way of Justin Bourgeois SBA guarantees as well as utilizing the SBA 504 program administered by Granite State Development Corporation. Without these enhancements to mitigate the start up and growth risk, we wouldn't have been able to go on this wonderful ride with Citizen! It's been exciting to watch this company, run by great people, who support local apple farmers and who continue to create local jobs, grow. CNB is excited to continue to partner with Citizen Cider as they take their next step:'

- Justin Bourgeois, VP and Commercial Loan Officer, CNB

''We're in our Communities to Serve"

CNB is committed to helping businesses in our communities grow. We have a team of experienced commercial lenders and support staff to accommodate businesses' unique borrowing needs. To contact a CNB commercial lender, please call the local CNB office near you.


Derby: (Main Office) 802-334-7915 • Barre: 802-476-6565 • Barton: 802-525-3524 • Derby Line: 802-873-3101

Enosburg Falls: 802-933-8500 • Island Pond: 802-723-4356 • Lyndonville: 802-626-1200 • Montpelier: 802-223-0598

Morrisville: 802-888-4633 • Newport: 802-334-7915 • St. Johnsbury: 802-748-3605 • Troy: 802-744-2287

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