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Ok, What's All This About FSU "Inventing" Gatorade?

Wednesday, 3 Dec 2008 | 3:12 PM ET

So the e-mails started pouring in over the weekend after the factoid was posted on the air.

During ABC’s broadcast of the Florida-Florida State game, the announcing team revealed that the University of Florida doctors didn’t invent Gatorade. That the sports drink was invented by rival Florida State, three years prior in 1962, and it was called “Seminole Firewater.”

The e-mails came into me because I’m, after all, Gatorade’s unofficial historian. Three years ago, I wrote the book on Gatorade called “First In Thirst.”

If I don’t know everything about the drink, I, at least, think I do. The man who has spent more hours of his life thinking about Gatorade, going through thousands of documents and thousands of newspaper stories had never even seen the words “Seminole” and “Firewater” together.

Source: youtube.com


Neither had Dr. Dana Shires, one of Gatorade’s four inventors, who was actually watching the game at the time. “Of course I’ve never heard of it,” Shires said. “It’s just another stupid stunt from the guys at Florida State.”

If I were a researcher for ABC, I doubt I would go with that story after I found only 41 hits for “Seminole firewater.” Or after the doctor who supposedly invented the stuff—an R.A. Johnson —only came up when this “Seminole firewater” was referenced.

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The story probably came from a jokester who put it up on Wikipedia. Then, a site called the history of branding, which doesn’t even exist anymore, put it on their site and then it hit all the message boards and voila–a creation becomes a fact.

The University of Florida is so concerned about this new revelation that they are supposed to issue a press release later today, perhaps to quell what has become the hottest new smack talk in Florida.

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There’s only one thing that makes me a little nervous. There’s one guy on Facebook who says he has an article from the Tampa Tribune “dating 5 years before a patent was applied for Gatorade.”

I might have missed it. So if anyone knows of this“Dave” guy, who says he has this article in his possession, please forward it to me at sportsbiz@cnbc.com. Or if anyone else has any supporting evidence to prove that I don’t know what I’m talking about, bring it.

We've since updated the story, click here for more.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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