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Minnesota native helps bring back Surge soda, gets his own 'day' in hometown

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Matt Winans is a hero in his hometown of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and all it took was resurrecting a long-discontinued soda brand.

It's because of the 26-year-old and two other dedicated soda drinkers that select stores have once again started carrying Surge, the highly caffeinated citrus drink that CocaCola nixed more than a decade ago.

Their efforts began in 2011 with the founding of The Surge Movement, an online grassroots campaign that sought to persuade Coke to bring back the once popular beverage, the Fergus Falls Journal reports.

To coincide with the return of the drink to area stores, the city has declared Sept. 10 "Matt Winans Day," which includes a fundraiser for a local food shelf, the paper says.

It's something the current Fargo resident has worked hard for: According to the Forum, Winans is a walking encyclopedia of Surge facts, such as the name of the artist who designed the original can labels and why the combination of obscure ingredients – like Maltodextrin – gives the soda its unique flavor.

Additionally, the paper says Winan and his cohorts put up $4,000 for a billboard reading "Dear Coke, We couldn't buy Surge so we bought this billboard instead" near the company's Georgia headquarters.

Evidently, their efforts worked, and if you've spent the last 13 or so years longing for Surge, there are plenty of opportunities to sip (or gulp) it once again.

The drink is now sold at participating retailers in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and about two dozen other states in the eastern U.S., according to the official website.

It's been available on Amazon.com for about a year, an unusual move for Coke, which had never distributed a product "solely through e-commerce," according to a news release.

At the time of the online launch, the company credited the "Movement" with drawing its attention to the "cult-like" following of the drink – which was also the first discontinued product the company had ever resurrected.

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