News Alert
UPDATE: Massive Berkeley Brush Fire Nearly…

Manzo-Laurita Family Strikes Black Gold With Blk.

Franklin Lakes men leverage RHONJ fame to launch a new calorie- and caffeine-free, all natural health and energy drink.

When Ramapo High School alum Albie Manzo's law school dreams fell apart during last season's Real Housewives of New Jersey the Franklin Lakes resident admits he didn't know what to do next. 

Naturally, he applied to other law schools, and was dismayed that he wasn't accepted. After one particularly good interview he found out why: The RHONJ limelight cast an unfavorable hue on his applications. 

"Schools were afraid to take a chance on me coming back because of the high visibility of the show," Manzo told Patch. "I was very discouraged and didn't know what I would do." 

This apparent "black" listing may prove to be his lucky color: it matches his new venture, the health beverage blk., which has been flying off shelves across the country since its launch this spring.

blk., or black water as it was called when Albie and his uncle Chris Laurita discovered it last year at the food show in New York, is Canadian spring water infused with fulvic acid, a natural nutrient-rich compound that has been used in alternative healing circles for centuries. 

The beverage's black color comes from a chemical reaction between the water and fulvic acid, and is part of the drink's allure.

"The color is what gets people listening in the first place," Albie said.

The health and energy boosting benefits, however, is what keeps people drinking it. He said it leaves him feeling refreshed, like he'd gotten a solid eight-hours night's sleep. 

In typical Manzo-Laurita style, the entire family supports the business. Both Chris and Albie Manzo work on the business end of the company, along with their Uncle Chris Laurita, who is a partner in the venture. Manzo mom Caroline and aunt Jacqueline have helped out on the promotion end with public appearances (just this weekend, they gave samples at ).

But it was a Canadian family who "invented" blk., both accidentally and out out of necessity. About four years ago, the mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and was sick and weak from chemotherapy. In search of something to make her feel better, her children took to the internet seeking alternative treatments and holistic remedies when they discovered the free-radical scavenger known as fulvic acid.

They mixed it with spring water, and it turned black. They gave this black water to their mom. She drank it and felt better. So she kept drinking it. Four years later, she is not only alive but thriving. And while they wouldn't go so far as to say the water cured her, they believe it restored her strength and increased her stamina to keep fighting.

The family thought the black water was a pretty cool product, so they decided to package it and sell it, which lead them to the food show, where the Manzo-Laurita family found them. 

Albie and Chris attended the show on a mission to find something new and different to market using their RHONJ celebrity. They left with several leads, but after researching fulvic acid and meeting with the family in Vancouver, they narrowed the field down to black water, changed its name to blk. and created its sleek, eye-catching packaging.

"They were the nicest people I've ever met," Manzo said. "Then we started drinking the water every day and I felt completely different, physically. I was sold."

Considering what is at the core of the beverage and its effects, its commercial appeal isn't surprising. Fulvic acid is mined from prehistoric sediment and been dubbed a "miracle molecule." The list of ailments it is said to cure is endless and its medicinal history is timeless. Ayervedic medicine calls it shilajit (or salajeet), a rejuvenating agent believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-aging properties. 

In western medicine, fulvic acid is being investigated as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions, diabetes, eye problems, ulcers, AIDS, cancer and a host of other conditions.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that in the laboratory fulvic acid not only inhibits intracelluar Tau protein tangles formation but also may reverse existing tangles. (Simply put, these tangles are a measurement of the neuro-cognitive-degenarative process and a key stage in the development of Alzheimer's disease.)

"Fulvic acid is likely to provide new insights in the development of potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease using natural products," the study authors concluded.

Manzo admits he was skeptical of the claims at first and he doesn't quite understand the science, but the more he drinks it — he downs a bottle a day — and the more he hears from satisfied customers, the more he believes in blk. 

One case in particular, he told Patch, has really assured him of the product's potential: A mother gave her autistic son blk. to drink, thinking its unique color might get him drinking more water. The boy not only drank it, he loved it, but the amazing part, he started behaving. The mother reached out to Albie, shocked, who sent her two more cases to try. Her son is stimming less and listening and following directions more. The difference, she told Manzo, is unbelievable.   

As is the product's commercial success, Manzo said. "It is blowing off the shelves across the country," he said, noting Wegman’s picked up distribution of it early on. "We literally couldn't believe that people grasped on to it as quickly as they did."

In the Franklin Lakes area, you can find it on the shelves at Food Town in North Haledon and Corrado's in Wayne, and it will soon be available in ShopRite, A&P and King's. 

A 15-oz. bottle of blk. retails for $2.49, which Manzo noted is priced matched to the popular coconut water health drinks, blk.'s biggest competitor. Since blk. is only water and fulvic acid, it has zero carbs or calories and no caffeine. 

For more on blk. and its history, visit blkbeverages.com.

Ike July 31, 2012 at 01:14 AM
This water is a sham. Not only is it not beneficial, its proven to be toxic if a lot of levels. If anything get vitamin water...thats a gimmick too but vitamin A and C and E are vital nutrients. This stuff these frauds are selling is useless and people backing them is laughable. And when they go bankrupt at another venture, hope u realize your NJ taxes will pay their debts.
Ultraworld August 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I also think this is a sham, an expensive sham. They charge $2.49 for 15oz. The water is free & the small amount of Fulmic acid costs very little. The bottle is the most expensive component. A bottle of BLK can't cost more than $0.25 to manufacture, and they have the nerve to charge $2.49. 500% profit? Suckers.
Emmaline August 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM
But is it tap water??? And tap water from where?
Emmaline August 06, 2012 at 10:46 PM
By the way this is August and no BLk on the shelves anywhere. The body does not need fulmic acid but I am concerned if they use tap water and where do they get the water from.
denise in austin August 06, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Probably tap water with various hokey components added to make bogus health claims.
Janice August 07, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Where in Puerto Rico we can gel BLK?
Mary Lloyd Barber August 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Where in KY can I buy blk.
Christina Maldonado August 11, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Christina Maldonado orange country Ca Where can I buy some in my area ? I also suffer horriblely ffibromyalga
gesu August 13, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Unfortunately, the body does not require fulvic acid and simply excretes as it would any other dirt in your water. This is disgusting to give people false hope that it will cure their various ailments. Think about it. If it were so good, why do Chris, Caroline, Jacqueline and Greg look like crap? They are bloated and full of acne. Please check that any supplement has been approved by the F.D.A. This Blk water has not.
gesu August 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
New Jersey. Honestly.
Laurel Kashinn August 25, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Found this at a Piggly Wggly in Cedarburg, WI. Tastes good. Am very open to alternatives but also highly skeptical of anything so intensely marketed. To all those suffering with fibromyalgia and arthritis, try eliminating all wheat from the diet and read research by William Davis MD. Http://wheatbellyblog.com. Also seek services of a reputable naturopath.
gina September 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I live in Jackson, Nj where can I buy the water????
Monique h September 02, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I live in New Orleans ... I want some blk water !!! Where can I get it?
Jennie September 03, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I live in Santa Ana , CA I would like to try BLK, where can I get it?!!!???
Sheri Bergalowski Rishel September 03, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Would love to try blk. Two years ago i was involved in a near fatal car accident and lost my left leg as well as many other problems from the guard rail going through my pelvis. I am a RHONJ faithful and love the Manzo & Laurita families. Please let me know where i can find blk anywhere close to south MISSISSIPPI....... New Orleans maybe???? help!!!
Tina Willnurse September 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Funny someone is always going to try to say someone stole something AFTER if comes out!!!! PATHETIC..................
Bettina Webb September 23, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Where to get and possibly sell blk. ? I am a nurse and I am interested in using for myself and to be a supplier......bettinawebb@gmail.com
Tina September 27, 2012 at 08:01 AM
You don't have to wait until it comes to you. Go to a health food store or search out on the internet on where you can buy the fulvic acid then mix it with water. They are making too much money on something everyone can do themselves. Why not keep your money in your pocket. They put it in a plastic bottle. I wonder what kind of plastic they are using and is that toxic. They haven't mentioned that yet. We can do it our selves.
Rosanne Ostrowski September 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
We r waitng for BLK in Richmond Va
Gail September 30, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I have not been able to find Blackwater anywhere. Not in upstate NY (Albany) Or in Florida (Orlando) Do they only seel this in NJ? I have emailed and tweeted them and have gotten no anwers. What a**holes!
Gail September 30, 2012 at 07:18 PM
haha. where are you? None in Albany/Schenectady. None in FLorida. Thought they went on that big trip all over. They said Kohls. Nope!
Mary Reno October 01, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Still waiting in Florida, really want to try it.
Gail October 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
they have it a goodings in Orlando. That is 80 miles from me. Defnot wortht he trip.
Withheld October 03, 2012 at 08:02 AM
I hope this beverage is not made with the same Miller Springs water. That stuff was absolute garbage and I am glad it is off the shelves.
Sandee November 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM
The toilet.
Anna June 17, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Where can I find Blk in riverside California area!??? Please let me know astonerock@riversidephysiciannetwork.com Please
Gina August 12, 2013 at 02:09 AM
I think the blk water business that the Manzo/Laurita families are involved in is a front for seedy business they are really involved in. It has been reported that the Laurita's are involved in illegal financial ventures. The article says blk is "blowing off the shelves across the country", except it is not available across the country. And playing with parents who have children with autism, who are very vulnerable, by claiming that it has changed the behavior of an autistic child is just wrong!
Linda Leeder August 15, 2013 at 08:04 AM
The Patch has been featuring this story for weeks. I hope you're getting paid for advertising this questionable product for so long...or do the Manzos own a piece of The Patch???? Very strange...
Chris Traynor August 17, 2013 at 03:06 AM
OH PLEASE ... THIS "NEWS STORY" IS SUCH TRANSPARENT PROPAGANDA. I'm a business consultant and an observer of marketing and promotion. It's my opinion that this story bears little relevance to the reality of BLK and media practices: 1A. This story has been bouncing around on Wayne PATCH for far too long - were it real the editor would be receiving daily calls from every competitor in the beverage industry. 1B. A "news story" with a headline claiming that these local families have "struck gold!" should have some facts and figures within the article confirming that it is, indeed, "blowing off the shelves across the country." The product has been around long enough to state some financial trends in a general sense and get past all of these huckster anecdotes. 1C. The RHONJ show has created a fiction about so many of their franchise actors that you simply cannot believe what you're presented with. Watch the last couple of months and you'll see the big lie they've created about the Manzo Boys and "their" Little Town restaurant ... portrayed as their restaurant when, factually speaking, Little Town in Hoboken is a new addition to an existing franchise begun by two very hard-working men NOT named Manzo. The "boys" are, at best, minority partners who's only commitment is to promotion of the restaurant "through the use of their celebrity images." They do not create menu items and "test recipes." The live above the restaurant and their contract allows for them to eat and drink for free as long as they make frequent visits and let the local doofi buy them shots. They do, however, supply the "gravy" for Little Town's Sunday Brunch which is the exact recipe from the Brownstone's tomato sauce. I imagine a couple of guys drive buckets of it down from Paterson on Saturdays. "REAL HOUSEWIVES" and the vast majority of "reality television" is a huge scripted scam ... just like this "news story." 2. A news headline would never feature the names of owners of a little sales company "repping" the line unless it was a PR piece. 3. This is 21st Century snake oil - all they need is the brightly painted wagon with all of BLK's health claims written in an old-timey script/font - all pulled by Caroline (motivated up steep hills by the slices of ham being thrown at her by the 70% of her siblings estranged from this great family woman. 4. If you went to a Manzo-Laurita family reunion, closed your eyes, spin around a few times and chucked a rock, the odds are you'd hit someone under investigation or being sued by soneone that they have insulted financially. BLK is the supergroup of corner cutting entrepreneurship. 5. This product almost sounds like the outcome of an outrageous bet between these RHONJ dirtbags .... "I'll bet ya $10 grand that I could sell bottled water with dirt in it AND convince these suckers to pay a premium price for it!" The bottom line take-away just isn't very unique but, what're you gonna do? As for BLK and all things Manzo-Laurita-Manzo-Giudice-Gorga ... DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.
Berna Lenes August 27, 2013 at 03:53 PM
"Flying off the shelves..." Really? Cures autism? Disgraceful...


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something