Thursday, May 23, 2013

Snapple Founder Dies at Age 80; A Non-Crony Capitalist

I wonder if he ever stepped foot in Washington D.C. WSJ reports:
Leonard Marsh transformed a tiny fruit-juice supplier into Snapple, a national brand of fruit-flavored beverages and iced tea powered by quirky marketing and bold flavors.

So successful was the brand that Snapple inspired dozens of imitators and prompted major soft-drink companies to introduce their own fruit and tea beverages to compete.

Mr. Marsh, who died Tuesday at age 80, launched Snapple in New York with two friends in the early 1970s to supply natural fruit juices to health-food stores.

After introducing lemonade and fruit-flavored ice tea in distinctive wide-mouth bottles, the company went public in a much-ballyhooed initial public offering in 1992[...]

Mr. Marsh and his brother-in-law Hyman Golden originally ran a Brooklyn-based window-washing and office-maintenance business. In 1972, they teamed up with Arnold Greenberg, who operated a health-food store in Manhattan's East Village, to create Unadulterated Food Products Inc. The company made juices and sold eggs and produce.

After renaming the company after one of their early products, carbonated apple juice, the founders became known collectively as the "Snapple Guys." They built up the brand one cooler at a time in New York City's pizzerias and bodegas.

"The deli is my Wal-Mart. Mr. Marsh liked to say.

Mr. Marsh, who was the chief executive, was the company's most prescient taster of new products and he favored goofy names like Mango Madness and Guava Mania.

"Lenny would say, 'If we like it, they'll like it,' " said Ms. Kaufman, who worked in public relations at Snapple. " 'We don't need a focus group. We are a focus group.' "[...]

It was Snapple's decision to start bottling iced tea that made it a major player on the national beverage FIZZ  scene. The company innovated by bottling its tea hot, avoiding preservatives and offering it year-round instead of just in the summer as many bottled iced teas had been.

Introduced in the late 1980s, Snapple iced tea was the main factor behind exploding sales that peaked at $674 million in 1994, up from $24 million five years earlier.

"We call Snapple the 'overnight success story that took over two decades to happen,' " Mr. Marsh told a tea-industry trade group in 1995.


  1. Not only has Leonard Marsh, passed away, but the very paradigm of economic and political experience has transitioned from Liberalism to Authoritarianism, as Wednesday May 22, 2013,was a pivotal day in economic and political life, with all forms of fiat wealth, Stocks, VT, Commodities, DBC, Major Currencies, DBV, Emerging Market Currencies, CEW, and Credit, AGG, trading lower, on the Congressional testimony of US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaling a cautious track on bond buying, and minutes of the Fed Meeting providing a blurred picture of Federal Reserve policy.

    Under liberalism bankers, corporations, government, entrepreneurs, such as Mr. Marsh, and citizens of democracies were the legislators of economic value and were the legislators of economic life.

    But, now,under authoritrianism, currency traders, bond vigilantes and nannycrats working in public private partnerships and in regional goverancce, are the legislators of economic value and are the legislators that shape one’s means and one’s end.