published: Friday, December 07, 2012
Water with lots of energy
ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer
In 2009, Dr. Dave Hardat opened a research and development company for the
purpose of developing life science products. Hardat, a doctor of biostatistics with a background in medical, pharmaceutical and biological sciences, was searching for a way to produce water that is oxygenated and is packed with natural energy.
Hardat is satisfied that through his Montverde-based company, "BLUE O4," he found it.
"Water has gone through such an evolution, from tap water to vitamin water, artisan water, mineral water and other enhanced forms. There are so many variations that I felt it was time to bring it back to a more natural state," Hardat said.
BLUEO4 background materials state that each bottle of the enhanced water beverage includes minerals and supplements such as magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium and trace amounts of calcium, carbonate, bromide and iodine.
BLUEO4 is the first and completely natural oxygenated enhanced water beverage. Each bottle contains zero calories, zero sugar, no chlorite or fluoride molecules, is Ph balanced and has a four-year shelf life because the oxygen is bonded into the water.
Hardat says sustained BLUEO4 usage reduces muscle fatigue and lactate acid buildup, increases pure energy (oxygen), reduces muscle cramping (because of the potassium content), reduces recovery time to certain injuries, increases alertness, overall health and wellness, flushes toxins or impurities from the body and reduces headaches, stress, fatigue, jet lag and altitude sickness.
"We found a way to embed the oxygen into the water to allow delivery to the muscles, something previous companies could not achieve," Hardat said. "The way we manipulate the trace minerals creates a polyatomic tetra oxygen molecule, or O4, hence the name 'BLUEO4.'"
Upon founding the company, Hardat took on a partnership with two celebrity athletes and now co-owners -- Tracy McGrady, seven-time all star NBA player, and David Otunga, a world wrestling entertainment superstar and body builder.
Together, they began distributing the water to private and governmental organizations, celebrities and athletes. The water has also been available on Amazon.com.
"Our initial plans were not to sell the product retail," Hardat said.
Today, the company, with its headquarters in Montverde, has eight production and distribution facilities across America. The biggest are located in Tampa, Pennsylvania, California and New York.
Last year, however, BLUEO4 took on a new venture and partnered with the 138th Kentucky Derby on the Churchill Downs Racetrack as one of three new sponsors.
Hardat, whose company is also affiliated with EQUINEO4, its own animal health division that provides oxygen supplements for thoroughbreds, called it "a great opportunity to build the BLUEO4 brand."
"Hydration is critical to peak athletic performance and what better place to showcase the benefits of hydrating with BLUE04 than the greatest two minutes in sports," he said of the Kentucky Derby.
BLUEO4, which also owns a country music label, "BLUEO4 Records" in Nashville, became a sponsor for the Country Music Awards this year. A feature in a national beverage trade magazine called "Bevnet" also spotlighted the product.
As a result of the sponsorships and national exposure, the consumer demand began to grow for BLUEO4, leading the company to a distribution deal with Skyscraper Distributing Company based in California.
What that means is that for the first time, BLUEO4 in 20-ounce bottles will be available in approximately 1,100 retail outlets, including grocery stores, convenience stores, price clubs and everyday low-price stores throughout California.
Locally, BLUEO4 supplies water to Montverde Academy's students, athletes and faculty, and has previously sponsored "Star Athletics," a track and field team led by professional track star Dennis Mitchell who coaches athletes from all over the world at the National Training Center in Clermont.
The company also has sponsored Sunshine State Travel Ball (baseball) events at Sleepy Hollow Recreation Complex in Leesburg. It will sponsor the Florida Half Marathon on Dec. 15 at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont.
Because of those things, word of the BLUEO4 brand, taste and benefit has begun spreading even more rapidly. So much so that Hardat was also contacted by a Clermont-based company called "gardengrocer.com" interested in distributing the water.
According to Hardat, BLUEO4 will be available at gardengrocer.com beginning in January.
"We're flattered by the tremendous positive demand for BLUEO4. And because of the marketing we've done over the past year, the apparent need came about to expand into the consumer market, so we've tweaked our business plan," he said.
Beyond the science, hype and newfound demand however, Hardat's major focus remains on his desire to provide a good product that may one day make a difference to many by providing an alternative to other enhanced energy drinks on the market.
"Ultimately, we want to change the culture, we want to grow our culture for our kids by reducing soda consumption and that of unnatural energy products. We want to get back to basics," Hardat said.
"All a track athlete needs to hydrate them is water. If you interview any USA track and field person, or if you look before any race at the Olympics, what are they drinking before that race? It's a bottle of water, because anything else makes them feel heavy," Hardat said.
He said the company patterns some of its philosophies off track and field because track was one of the first sports played in Ancient Greece.
"Our philosophy is the next generation of natural energy actually goes back to the first generation, just oxygen and water, the way it is meant to be," Hardat said.