Dr. J. Robert Cade, the inventor of Gatorade, died this week at the age of 80. A while back I remember seeing commercials of how Gatorade was created and thought the commercial was a spoof. On TV they show the Florida Gator football team back in 60's needing something to help them replace all the sweat and body's minerals as they played football. Along comes Dr. Cade with his fantastic creation.
Well, after reading the obituary today I learned that this was indeed a true story. The first batch cost about $43 and they only tested it on freshman during the games since they did not want to hurt the varsity team. "It sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner," one of the researchers stated. They then added sugar and lemon juice to improve the taste. It eventually was used by all players and the Florida Gators became known as a second half team who outlasted opponents. In 1967 the losing coach of the Orange Bowl said his team lost because it didn't have the GatorAde that the Florida Gators had.
Pepsi now owns the Gatorade name brand and it has brought the University of Florida more than $150 million in royalties. Gatorade held 81% of the $7.5 billion sports drink industry in 2006. There were 4 original flavors and now there are more than 50 flavors available internationally.
I think it is ironic that Dr. Cade was Florida's first kidney researcher and his cause of death was kidney failure.