Whatever happened to the Best Stuff on Earth?
Recently in my area Snapple has begun to make its way back into combini coolers and breakroom vend machines with the new mango flavor and aside from that, the half and half tea blends (half iced tea / half lemonade). It seems like the 90s soft drink giant disappeared altogether there for a while and I haven’t seen my teen go-to drink Kiwi Strawberry but nonetheless, I was glad to see something “uncola” on the shelves again that didn’t involve the trendy coconut water. Not that I’m against coconut water- I drink it regularly.
Turns out the company was around long before my uncool teen years of chilling to Tori Amos, Enya and Bjork posting stupid stuff on Usenet and recycling glass Snapple bottles before it was mandatory. Beginning as Unadulterated Food Products, Inc in the 1970s in Manhattan, Snapple was the name Unadulterated gave to their ultra-popular apple juice drink. Once it was suspected the juice was fermenting after bottle tops started popping off in warehouses, Unadulterated branched out and began adding other juices and in 1982, sodas to their Snapple brand. 1986 brought new fruit drinks into the family and 1987 hailed the new mainstay of the Snapple name: iced teas. In 1988 Snapple blew the top off of the soft drink world with Lemon-flavoured iced tea which still remains popular wherever Snapple is sold. In fact I’m drinking one right now!
Ivan Lendl 1991 ad courtesy Chuck D’s All-New Classic TV Clubhouse
The early 1990s saw expansion in the company and also fierce competition. Coca-Cola and Pepsico had their own tea drinks in the works so Snapple hit the market with those memorable “Made from the Best Stuff on Earth” ads followed by the Snapple Lady, one Wendy Kaufman. New see-through vending machines were produced to show new flavours in 1994 such as Mango Tea and Pink Lemonade as well as diet drinks and a new sports drink just in time for Lipton to give Snapple a run for their money in the tea department.
30 Detention courtesy SnappleDawg
Just as they grew in the mid-90s so did Snapple start a swan dive under new management from Quaker Oats who cut out some of the beloved drink flavours. Bizarre rumours about Snapple having some sort of involvement with the KKK and several of the under the cap facts being debunked didn’t help the public’s perception. Today, Dr. Pepper owns Snapple and though it seems they’ve pared down to 5 flavours in any store I’ve seen them in over the last year, I’m sort of hoping they pull through.
2017 courtesy Snapple