Vice President of Crux Cigars: Casey Haugen
Let’s jump into the rebrand conversation because while the cigars were good when you guys first launched, we never loved the branding. It looked chunky and somewhat Gothic and from a design standpoint, we weren’t digging it but now you’ve made a complete overhaul and I have to tell you it is outstanding. Walk us through that process.
The rebrand launched at the PCA show in 2019. The original brand had its moments and it had its followers. The old logo had this kind of this medieval Gothic feel where people said we could have made a lot of money selling shirts. But we didn’t want to be a shirt company. The logo was not very legible and we didn’t have a great scheme or continuity in our packaging. We had packaging with different shapes, different colors, and different quantities. So it just didn’t scream we were a company. It screamed we were a company trying to figure out who we were. Thankfully that happened because as a company you should always be in the process of growing and always trying to get better. And so then in 2018 we started asking ourselves how do we become better? Do we need better people? Do we need better product? Or do we need better marketing? So we totally did an analysis to figure out how can we grow because we had a small little company that was plugging along but we knew we needed to make drastic changes. So we went to market research and hired an outside company to evaluate us and tell us what we’re doing wrong. And they came up with a lot of great ideas; hire a brand new marketing company, a new design company, they helped walk us through the whole process. We knew after the market research that people enjoyed our cigars after we analyzed the blind taste testing results. The results validated what we already knew – that we had a good product. We know we use great factories. We know we use great tobacco because it comes from some of the best people in Nicaragua. We source it from other countries that have some of the best growers in the world, but the brand was hard to remember. It was hard to find, and hard to stand out. And more importantly, it was hard for people to remember because the logo was not very legible. Regardless, the original branding had its place. It was a regional feel for the company and it definitely worked and it was a start for us. But now we have truly a clean marketing design. We have a process that we go through and more importantly a recognizable company that hopefully has a timeless brand that can be marketed internationally.
Let’s dive a bit deeper now and talk specifically about the Epicure Maduro. It’s a cigar that did well with our panel garnering a 90 rating in the March/April 2021 issue. Tell us about this blend.
The Epicure Maduro has a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper from the Turrent family and it’s rolled at the AJ Fernandez factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. It’s our first Maduro, which came out in 2018. We were a little late to the Maduro party because everybody was on Maduro for a few years but we wanted to create a Maduro that fit our consumer. A Crux guy who’s looking for that medium, medium plus, full flavor, clean finishing tobacco. It took a while to really get it nailed down working with AJ Fernandez’s factory, but in the end we feel we really got it right. Strength wise it’s not as strong as our Bull and Bear line, but it’s still full and flavorful with a clean finish and it won’t give you palate trauma or an ammonia finish as most full cigars do.