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'Snapple Pie' aims to lift 4Q sales
Beverage maker launches apple pie-flavored drink for a limited three-month run.
October 21, 2003: 11:05 AM EDT
By Meghan Collins, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Beverage sales of soft-drink and juice makers tend to trail off into the fall season, after the summer rush, but drink maker Snapple has ripened an idea in an effort to counter the trend.

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Beverage maker Snapple is releasing a limited-edition drink called Snapple Pie. Two of CNNfn's reporters taste the new flavored juice drink.

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The company released a limited-edition drink Monday called "Snapple Pie," which encompasses the tastes associated with apple pie. The launch of the drink, which will be available from October through December, was set to coincide with the apple-picking and holiday seasons.

Analysts said limited-time, seasonal products are a new idea that could possibly turn into a trend. This past summer Pepsi (PEP: down $0.12 to $48.03, Research, Estimates) launched Mountain Dew LiveWire, a seasonal, summer, orange-flavored drink as an extension of its Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew and Mountain Dew Code Red drinks.

The hot summer months generate the most sales volume for beverage companies, and launching a new fall drink could help Snapple combat the fall sales dips felt by many drink makers, analysts said.

"The company probably launched (Snapple Pie) to spur sales. Snapple is pretty innovative," said Todd Stender, a beverage analyst at Crowell Weedon & Co. "Flavor-wise, we haven't heard from them in a while. Their ad campaign has dropped off -- maybe this is to get back in front of the consumer."

Snapple last introduced a new flavor into the market in April 2003, called 'Go Bananas.' It also launched 'Kiwi Teawi' and 'Diet Snapple Apple' earlier in the year.

"We wanted to find a way to capitalize on sales in the fourth quarter," said Michael Sands, chief marketing officer at Snapple. "We are also looking at other seasonal opportunities to help with incremental sales."

Sands said the company is not ruling out bringing the flavor back next year, if it gets a warm response from consumers. Snapple also may consider launching another type of pie-flavored drink next year, such as pumpkin pie, in conjunction with Snapple Pie or instead of it, he added.

The new flavor, which the company says incorporates all the tastes of apple pie down to the crust, can be heated up in the same vein as apple cider or consumed cold.

Cadbury Schweppes Plc

The drink, which comes in a 16 oz. bottle, is packaged to look slightly different than other Snapple flavors, sporting a circular silver foil label and an image of a pie missing a slice.

Snapple is a unit of London-based Cadbury Schweppes (CSG: down $0.31 to $26.73, Research, Estimates). The parent company's American depositary receipts (ADRs) rose slightly Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cadbury also owns Mistic, Nantucket Nectars, and Orangina brand drinks.  Top of page

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