To Be or Not 2B? Larry T Returns with New Monkfruit-Sweetened Drink Line

Brain-Twist may be all said and done, but Larry Trachtenbroit’s unquenchable thirst for beverage innovation lives on with the launch of 2B, a line of all-natural, aloe-infused and monk fruit-sweetened enhanced waters. 2B is the first beverage line out of Think-It Drink-It, Trachtenbroit’s first beverage venture since the demise of Brain-Twist.

Majority-owned by Think-It Drink-It 2B also counts a handful of private investors as minority owners. Additionally, Pepsi Cola New York (owned by the Honickman Group) owns a small equity interest in the brand.

Geared toward younger consumers, Trachtenbroit called 2B “the least complicated” line of drinks that he’s ever launched, and one that makes no functional or health claims. Nevertheless, 2B (a name that designed to encourage consumers “2B to whoever they want 2B,” Trachtenbroit said) is formulated with two distinctly non-mainstream ingredients in aloe and monk fruit.

At 20 calories per 16 oz. bottle, 2B contains a blend of sweeteners that includes sugar and Purefruit, a patented zero-calorie monk fruit extract marketed by Tate & Lyle. Trachtenbroit said that he chose monk fruit for two reasons.The sweetener would keep the calorie count low without sacrificing taste, he said. Trachtenbroit also believes that monk fruit doesn’t have “that lingering sweetness” that consumers often associate with stevia.

“I’m in love with Purefruit,” Trachtenbroit said. “It’s a clean sweetness.”

Yet despite being infused with aloe, an ingredient that’s as on-trend as any in the beverage industry, Trachtenbroit stressed that 2B is not an aloe drink per se. (Trachtenbroit’s been down that road before, having worked on a never-released product called “Halo.”) Instead, he prefers to position 2B as an “any time of the day” kind of product that is refreshing and low-calorie, and one that consumers can choose without having to sacrifice any other part of their diet. Still, Trachtenbroit said that he believes aloe beverages will be a “big time business down the road.”

With school distribution as his launching pad, Trachtenbroit — after a month-long application process — gained approval for the sale of 2B in New York City public schools. The brand is distributed by PCNY, and since its introduction to the market, has landed in a range of up-and-down-the-street retailers in New York’s five boroughs and Westchester County. Trachtenbroit said he’ll continue to press for new shelf space for 2B in bodegas and corner stores in New York City and will aim for placement in a variety of new retail channels including drug and grocery.

2B comes in five flavors — Tropical Fruit, Coconut Passion, Lemonade, Fruit Punch, and Grape — each packaged in a 16 oz. PET bottle with a suggested retail price of $1.49. Although 2B offers no specific health or functional claims, its labels do tout the drinks’ content of 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.