Five Towns family that founded Snapple is coming back to Long Island with another drink

August 12, 2020 5:37 pm
August 12, 2020 5:37 pmLeave your thoughts

HEWLETT, NY — The son of the Hewlett family that founded Snapple is coming back to Long Island with another drink.

Bob Golden, whose father and uncle in the 1970s began what eventually became Snapple, is the founder and CEO of Treo Fruit + Birch Water. After Golden learned about organic birch water while traveling in Scandinavia, he returned to the United States set on revolutionizing the beverage industry as his family members did with Snapple before him.

Thus, three years ago, Treo was born. And now it’s coming home to Long Island.

Bob Golden, , the founder of Treo Fruit + Birch Water, poses in front of a photo of his father, who helped found Snapple.

Treo is a low-calorie, organic and gluten-free drink that uses sap sourced from silver birch trees in upstate New York and Vermont as a natural sweetener. Birch water contains the natural sugar xylitol, in addition to nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. It’s a hydration quencher that’s been used as a detox drink for generations in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

Golden founded Treo in 2017 after returning from his travels. Inspired by his father’s love of making beverages and eager to return to the industry, Golden sat down with Brian O’Byrne, a former CEO of Yoohoo/Orangina Beverage Company, to bring Treo to life.

“I always think about what my father and uncle did,” Golden told Patch. “Working with my dad over the years, I had a love for the beverage business. I always wanted to get back in it.”

After Snapple took off as one of the first bottled teas in the industry, it was sold to Quaker Oats in the 1990s. Since then, Golden has worked in the office maintenance business and in real estate.

“What Bob wanted was a brand that’s made from better stuff,” O’Byrne, now president of Treo, told Patch in a phone interview Monday. “People are looking to drink healthier type products. And that’s really where Treo fits in. It’s plant-based, it’s organic, it’s all-natural.”

Treo is the first beverage in the United States to use birch water sourced from silver birch trees, which are locally tapped at the end of winter, promoting good forest stewardship, O’Byrne said.

The drink, which is made up of birch water and fruit juices, comes in six flavors: peach mango, blueberry, raspberry lemonade, strawberry, kiwi watermelon and orange apricot.

“What’s very impressive and important about it is taste,” O’Byrne said. “People love the taste.”

Long Islanders will soon be able to have their own taste of Treo over the coming weeks.

Treo, distributed by PepsiCo and currently sold around the country, will be available at stores including King Kullen, Stew Leonard’s, Stop & Shop, Bolla Market and other retailers across Long Island, including Hewlett’s own Gourmet Glatt.

“When you’ve created something and it’s your baby, you obviously want it to be shining in the area where you live,” O’Byrne said. Golden still resides in Hewlett. “Our wings are spread certainly a lot further (than Long Island), although we consider Long Island to be the heartland of the brand.”


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