Inc., Dallas; Takasago International Corp., Rockleigh, N.J.
Leave it to beverage creator Brain Twist, a national retailer with a
penchant for new products and a flavor house to create not only a new
beverage but also a new drinking experience. The team of product developers
behind Fair Warning, a beverage that creates heating or cooling sensations
without actual differences in temperature, is on to something big. Beverage Industry spoke
with Brain Twist President Larry Trachtenbroit about the genesis of Fair
Warning, which “wowed” the industry after its debut last fall.
“One of the key things about Fair Warning is we
wanted to be different. We didn’t want to invent another soda or an
energy drink. We were looking for a ‘wow’ factor,”
Brain Twist worked with product developers at
7-Eleven, who were instrumental in creating the flavor and image profile,
and Takasago, which holds a patent on heating- and cooling-sensation
flavors. The key ingredient that creates the impression of temperature is
part of the flavor, according to Trachtenbroit, who compares it to the hot
sensation felt while eating a cinnamon “fireball” candy.
Additionally, all the ingredients in the beverage are FDA approved and GRAS
When creating the flavor profile and image, the
company bucked the popular trend of introducing a better-for-you beverage.
Fair Warning also went against the grain by using a 12-ounce bullet-shaped
aluminum package, creating mystery about what was inside.
“This drink is not going to make you healthier;
it’s not going to cure any diseases,” says Trachtenbroit.
“It’s a drink for the moment. We didn’t want to call it a
‘brain freeze’ or ‘brain heater’. We just wanted to
say ‘fair warning’ – it’s going to be hot,
it’s going to be cold...And I used to like Van Halen a
Focus groups conducted with consumers 18 to 24 years
old confirmed that less was more for everything from imaging to packaging
for Fair Warning. Trachtenbroit says, “We used the older kids’
opinions more for creating the final imaging
because younger kids will aspire to what the older kids are drinking. We
want to promote some thought, and that’s what the package has done.
“The most important thing is we had the idea and
we thought it was a really cool idea. And we think the product will be very
successful because the tweaks and adjustments, and what the imaging ended
up being was a direct reflection of what the consumers asked for,” he
Considering 7-Eleven’s involvement, it’s
no surprise the drink has struck a chord with consumers in the convenience
store channel. And while the company didn’t intend for the drink to
be served as a mixer, Trachtenbroit confirms that it also has impacted the
bar scene, and recommends Captain Morgan rum mixed with the Heat flavor for
a unique cocktail.
Brain Twist has plans for a bigger launch of Fair
Warning in February or March with “tweaked” flavors of what was
introduced during the fall. Currently only available in 7-Eleven stores,
Fair Warning is slated to appear in other
retail channels in the future.
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