A Fond Farewell to Florida Patent Holder Dr. Robert Cade
Dr. Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade, died on Tuesday at the age of 80, but the powerhouse he built in Gatorade will live on. Beverage Digest reports that in 2005, Gatorade had an astounding 80% marketshare of the $5.5B sports drink market. Yet, Cade’s booming business, with global presence in 80 countries, began with a simple question.
According to Yahoo!News, the question that ignited Dr. Cade’s invention and patenting of Gatorade was this: "Why don’t football players wee-wee after a game?" Then Head Coach of the Florida Gators Dwayne Douglas posed the question way back in the sixties. Realizing players can become dangerously dehydrated during a game, losing up to 18 pounds in the three hours it takes to play, Dr. Cade saw that an opportunity was upon him, though the first prototype was more than lackluster. One of the researchers reported that it tasted like "toilet bowl cleaner," and Cade himself vomited after guzzling the potent brew. Back to the drawing board; the team worked to improve the flavor, and they succeeded.
The Florida Gators took up drinking Gatorade during the games, and Gatorade won out as the Gators were known for their endurance. And, so an endurance brand was born. Perhaps, the benefits of Gatorade reached mythic proportions when 1967 Georgia Tech Head Coach Bobby Dodd announced his team had lost to the Florida Gators because they "didn’t have Gatorade." Gatorade’s legend and their business took off from there, growing into the multi-billion dollar enterprise it is today. That’s patent perfection.