Go to any pizzeria or deli in New York and you’re liable to find an assortment of flavors of Snapple Iced Tea, however it wasn’t always this way. Snapple was founded in 1972 by Leonard Marsh, Hyman Golden, and Arnold Greenberg in Valley Stream, Long Island. They debuted the classic lemon-flavored iced tea in 1987. By the early 90’s the brand was gaining popularity and it was time to take Snapple nationwide. Que the Snapple Lady. Wendy Kaufman, who was just a regular shmegular secretary, answered letters from die-hard Snapple fans. The Long Island yenta was very relatable, and her commercials were an overnight success.
In 1992, they began using their trademark “made from the best stuff on earth” slogan, even though high fructose corn syrup is clearly not the best stuff on earth. Also, in ’92 Snapple was acquired by Thomas Lee. Lee would go on to take the company public and ultimately sell it to Quaker Oats for $1.7 billion, that’s $1.7 billion in 1994 dollars, wowzers. Since then the brand has changed hands a few times but has not changed the formula.
In 2003, Snapple became the official beverage of New York City’s schools. The partnership was part of the city’s effort to steer children away from soda which is linked to obesity and diabetes. Eventually, Snapple was removed from the schools as teachers quickly realized a 16-ounce bottle contains more sugar than a 12-ounce soda. Through the years, Snapple has dabbled in multiple flavors of iced tea including mint (ugh, however if you have any, I’m sure you could resell them on eBay to someone in Japan for a killing), but the mainstays are lemon, peach and raspberry.
In 2008, Snapple fired the beloved Snapple Lady. Wendy has been open about her struggle with addiction and has been featured on Celebrity Fit Club. In 2009, Snapple changed the formula from high fructose corn syrup to real sugar.
In January of 2018, Snapple moved away from glass bottles to only plastic. Oh, how I miss obnoxiously slapping the bottom and popping the top on the old glass bottles. Personally, I feel the plastic bottle changes the taste. There is even a petition dedicated to changing back to the original glass bottles. Do you still drink Snapple?