Mike Weinstein is known as one of the most dynamic speakers in the beverage industry. His down-to-earth, casual style and irreverent sense of humor have made him a favorite presenter at beverage conferences throughout the country. He has just completed a speech outlining the lessons from the history of Snapple entitled “Snap Judgments.” It’s a fast-paced 45-minute talk complete with historical slides, old TV commercials and unique learnings from the rise, fall and rescue of Snapple. In addition to prepared remarks, Weinstein is always happy to answer questions, participate in workshops, or play a round of golf with company management (don’t worry, he’s easy to beat).
This fast-paced presentation details the perils, pitfalls and ultimate perseverance of one of America’s enduring product success stories – SNAPPLE. Mike Weinstein traces the history of this upstart brand from its roots in Queens, New York where three entrepreneurs built an apple juice business into a block buster brand. His presentation details the brand’s sale to Quaker Oats, its stumble and near demise as this corporate giant tried to remake the brand to fit its business model and the sale of Snapple only one year later to Triarc Companies, with Mike Weinstein spearheading the turnaround of the brand. Under Weinstein’s innovative leadership, Snapple was built back up into a powerhouse to be sold for 4.5 times its original purchase price, 3 years later to Cadbury Schweppes. Weinstein’s tale is the ultimate example of successful corporate strategy, versus strategy gone awry. It’s a lesson that transcends the beverage industry and offers innovative ideas for every brand and business.
Mike Weinstein is a beverage guy. After joining Pepsi-Cola in 1972 (it was his only job offer) and working for them in bottling and brand management for 6 years, he got the beverage bug and stayed a fixture in the industry. He left Pepsi in 1978 to join K&E Advertising in NYC and worked in account management on Coca-Cola’s newly acquired wine business (Taylor, Sterling,) as well as new soft drink products. He was recruited from K&E by the A&W Root Beer Company to be VP Marketing in 1981. In 1986, as A&W’s SVP Marketing, he was part of the management group that purchased A&W in an LBO for $70 Million. Despite extreme high leverage (100:1 Debt to Equity) the company accelerated its growth rate with acquisitions (Squirt, Vernors), brand licensing (Country Time) and new product development (A&W Cream Soda). A&W Brands, Inc. went public in 1987 and Weinstein was promoted to Executive Vice President, becoming President and Chief Operating Officer in 1991. In 1993, Cadbury Schweppes purchased A&W Brands for $330 Million and he left the company to form Liquid Logic Consulting, which specialized in services to the soft drink industry.
After 18 months of consulting, which included completion of a manual titled, “The Complete Insider’s Guide to the US Soft Drink Industry”, Weinstein got the itch to build another company. He led the effort to purchase Mistic Beverages, a small new age beverage company, which was acquired by Triarc Companies in 1995 and he was
appointed CEO. In 1996, Weinstein was given added responsibility for the Royal Crown Company, also owned by Triarc. In the spring of 1997, Triarc acquired the ailing Snapple brand from Quaker Oats for $300 Millio n, 2 ½ years after Quaker had purchased it for $1.7 Billion, and combined all the companies under Weinstein (along with Stewart’s Beverages, acquired late in 1997).
The turnaround of Snapple under new management was nearly immediate. After years of double-digit volume declines, Snapple stabilized by the end of 1997 and resumed solid growth in 1998. In the fall of 2000, on the eve of a planned Snapple IPO, Cadbury Schweppes acquired the Snapple Beverage Group (SBG) for $1.4
Billion (valuing the Snapple brand at close to $1 Billion). Weinstein continued to run SBG for a year and then was appointed President, Global Innovation and Business Development for Cadbury. At the end of 2003, Weinstein announced his retirement. In January 2005, Mike co-founded a beverage start-up company called
INOV8 Beverage Company. INOV8 launched a unique energy drink called HYDRIVE in the summer of 2006. HYDRIVE is the first full power energy drink made from spring water. In September of 2006, Mike was elected to the Board of Directors of the H.J. Heinz Company.
Some of the Recognition… Weinstein was named Beverage Industry Executive of the Year in 1999 and was elected to the Beverage World
Hall of Fame in 2000. He was named Westchester County (NY) Executive of the Year in 2001 and received the
Beverage Digest’s prestigious “Visionary Award” in December 2004. The personal stuff… Weinstein received a bachelor’s degree with honors in Economics from Lafayette College in 1970 where he was Captain of the Varsity Swimming and Water Polo teams, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1972.
He was an avid distance runner and triathlete when his knees were better, with a personal marathon best of 2:43. He continues to do distance cycling, kayaking, and enjoys scuba diving and underwater photography in the Caribbean.
He is a Board member of NFTE, the National Federation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. As part of that board, he teaches low-income high school students about the beverage industry. He is also Section Secretary for his class at HBS and a member of the Trustee Committee on External Affairs for Lafayette College.