Snapple co-founder Leonard Marsh dies at 80

Bottles of Snapple ice tea and juice drink Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images, file

Washington Leonard Marsh, the co-founder of the Snapple beverage brand, has died at age 80.

The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS) of Plano, Texas, which now owns Snapple, on Thursday confirmed Marsh's death. He died Tuesday at his home in Manhasset, N.Y., The New York Times reported.

Snapple began in New York in 1972 as Unadulterated Food Products, which sold natural fruit juices to health food stores. Marsh, a window washer who would later serve as CEO of Snapple, launched the business on the side with his brother-in-law Hyman Golden and childhood friend Arnold Greenberg.

The trio didn't introduce the brand name until 1980, and its popularity quickly soared as consumers clamored for healthier beverage options.

Snapple was considered a leader in the "New Age'' beverage movement at the time. Its combination of unusual flavor combinations of tea and juice, along with quirky advertising, was a hit with consumers. It inspired a number of competitors, particularly as soft drink companies took notice of the demand for drinks with natural ingredients.

Quaker Oats Co. bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994. Marsh stayed on for several years after the acquisition as executive vice president for planning before he retired.

"We're saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Marsh,'' Jim Trebilock, executive vice president of marketing for the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, said in a statement. "He, along with his partners Arnold Greenberg and Hyman Golden, brought the best stuff on Earth to the masses. Today we tip our Snapple cap in his honor.''

A representative for Marsh's family was not immediately available to comment.

Marsh is the last of the Snapple founders to pass away. Golden died in 2008 and Greenberg died last year.

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