Arnold Greenberg, Snapple Co-Founder, Passes Away at 80

Arnold Greenberg, one of three friends who started the new age beverage revolution with the introduction of Snapple drinks, died on Friday, according to an obituary in the New York Times. It was known that he had been battling cancer for some time.

The company began in the early 1970s when Mr. Greenberg, at the time the owner of a health food store in Manhattan, along with old high school friend Leonard Marsh — and with Mr. Marsh’s brother-in-law, Hyman Golden — began to experiment with carbonated and non-carbonated, juice-sweetened drinks.

Snapple drinks, like Kiwi Strawberry, gained momentum with real fruit juice as the sweetener.

The success of Snapple came through the use of pure juice as a sweetener, creative marketing and naming conventions for the products, and persistence — it took nearly 20 years for the drink to become an “overnight sensation.” But once Snapple products began to migrate into mainstream channels, the brand took off, behind a series of high-profile radio campaigns featuring stars like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh, as well as a series of irreverent television advertisements featuring Wendy Kaufman, a Snapple office worker who became known as the “Snapple Lady.”

Beyond marketing success, Snapple was one of the first independent beverage companies to build its territory through a national distribution network that was mostly comprised of independent beer wholessalers; it set a template for many generations of DSD-focused brands to come. In 1994, the company was sold to Quaker Oats, netting the founders a reported $180 million. Mr. Greenberg had been the executive vice president and COO of Snapple at the time it was sold; he left the company in 1996.

Mr. Greenberg spent the years following his retirement from Snapple splitting time between New York and Florida. Mr. Golden died in 2008.

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