MADD about Virgin Drinks

by The Discovering Alcoholic on September 19, 2009

MADD about Virgin Drinks at The Discovering Alcoholic

Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has linked up with a Canadian marketing firm to introduce a line of MADD sponsored and labeled mojitos, margaritas, pina coladas, beer, and red, white and sparkling wines that are 100% alcohol free.

They’re an alternative for people who want to serve drinks with “the great taste needed to make guests feel like they are part of the party — but without the alcohol,” said MADD’s national president, Laura Dean-Mooney. ~ The Associated Press

Even though I am a supporter of MADD and agree that non-alcoholic “mimic” drinks may be a good alternative for designated drivers, I do question the wisdom of putting their name on adult beverages regardless of the content. MADD already has a large host of detractors from the ABI to minimum age opponents, and this move will certainly give them a controversial issue to target.

Click “Read more” to continue…

A good example of making hay with “MADD drinks” is this opinion piece from accusing MADD of selling out… and making a very convincing argument.

It looks to me like MADD is taking it’s esteemed reputation—earned and bolstered by thousands of volunteers, private donations and federal and state tax dollars—and turning it into a name-brand. MADD is using to bolster the marketing for MADD, Inc, and thereby profiting from its years as a tax-exempt organization.

Final verdict, I think MADD has made a poor move here. For those that don’t have abuse issues non-alcoholic beverages are fine substitute, but since they have no problem abstaining in the first place it’s sort of a moot point. And for those of us with a history of abuse I strongly discourage the use of these products- it’s not a terribly smart path. Non-alcoholic mimic beverages seem like a good idea on paper, but the market and their realistic use is overestimated in my opinion. MADD will gain another revenue stream from this line of products, but the possible alienation of their supporters and the assured attacks from their opponents may not be worth the effort.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nikki November 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm

I have seen these bottles and will be buying some MADD wine for Thanksgiving. I use to drink, I’m not a recovering alcoholic. I recently realized I’m allergic to alcohol. I swell, turn red, itch, get internally hot with my alcohol reactions. This happens with beer, wine and hard alcohols. I do like the taste of fruity drinks and wine. So the fact that they came up with an alcohol free wine, I’m all for it. Just like drinks with alcohol in them, if alcoholics have cravings that are not controllable then they should stay away from alcohol free products just like they should stay away from the ones with alcohol. At least until cravings are under control. I do not believe this alternative madd wine was only created for alcoholics! Just like I don’t believe it was created for people like me with allergies. It is a fine alternative for anyone who wants to drink An alcohol free wine drink. I appreciate it. So thank you.


2 Lindsey August 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

I think these drinks are great! I do not drink and haven’t drank in 8 years. Yes I’m also an alcoholic. I don’t comsider drinking these drinks as a lapse or evens a relapse. I consider it a drink like grape juice or, soda or a virgin margarita. No alcohol at all. There are many “non alcoholic” beers and drinks out there. But they have as much alcohol as mouthwash which surprisingly has quite a bit of alchool in it. Sometimes more than “non alcoholic beer”. Which in my opinion is not a good idea to indulge in for me anyhow. This drink is 100% free of alcohol. I think it’s a genius idea. I don’t drink ever. But yes an addict I doe get the urge to have the taste of wine or beer. Ibe delt with this for many years and I’ve never been bothered by other people drinking in front of me or even going to a bar and having a coke. If I was a newly sober person I’d say maybe don’t rock the boat on this one, and don’t put your self in this situation to even have the temptation put in front of me. I will admit even after all these years, yes, it would be nice to have a nice dinner with a glass of wine with ‘everyone’ else. But I never do. Water, virgin strawberry daquaris, tea or coffee is fine for me and as don’t even flinch. But I’ve been put in this situation more than a few times and know if I get overwhelmed I can say something, or leave. Which takes years of practice. As far as this non alcoholic wine, from what I can remember it tastes like wine but it doesn’t have the effect. I see no problem with this. It’s pretty much fermented grape juice. MADD made it easier to ‘drink’ socially without the pressure. I like it. I can understand some peoples argument with it. But it has zero alcohol so you could be drinking soda or grape juice and I see no difference between that and an alcoholic drink. I hope walgreens makes these drinks available at other stores. I’m a fan!


3 Nor January 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I agree with the arguments on both sides of this issue, but for me, the argument against wins out because of the damage to the MADD name from the muddying of the boundary between these drinks and their alcoholic versions. The non-alcoholic drinks are a great idea, and MADD should support the idea, but not put their name on them.


4 Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

In addition to what Judy pointed out above… I think it’s a great idea. I do drink socially, but am now pregnant. These are a perfect substitution for me during upcoming family functions as I’m not quite ready to tell anyone but it would be extremely obvious if I skipped having a glass of white wine with dinner. Now I can seemingly have that glass of white wine – just need to figure out how to hide the bottle from them 😉

I know many pregnant/previously pregnant women who also used these beverages as either a way to help conceal their pregnancies in the early months, or to still enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage with meals or at parties in the later months.

Also, I have quite a few friends who don’t drink only because they don’t like the taste of alcohol – so these beverages give them the opportunity to enjoy something different without having to worry about potentially tasting the alcohol… and they won’t have to worry about the effects that the alcohol would otherwise cause.

So, I think this is a great idea for MADD and personally, I’m extremely happy that they did it.


5 Judy July 13, 2011 at 8:17 am


This isn’t a product for alcoholics, any more than faux cigarettes are a product for people who have given up smoking.

I think this is a superb idea and here’s why:

I don’t drink and drive. I don’t even drink. I love the taste, can’t tolerate the effect. When I go out there are VERY FEW OPTIONS. Water. Gets pretty boring after a while. Diet Pop. I’m not a fan of pop. Juice. I don’t want juice with my appetizers.

If these taste good, it will give me something to drink when I’m out. I don’t need to have a drink to feel like I ‘fit in’. I’m way past caring about whether I fit in.

As anyone who has studied advocacy marketing knows, the first step is creating an awareness. The second step is providing an alternative action.

MADD has done a superb job of creating awareness. MADD Virgin Drinks provides an alternative. And if in the process, consuming this beverage helps support the efforts of MADD and helps them continue to spread the message, then I’ll happily drink the product.


~ Judy

p.s. I would suspect that the majority of MADD’s detractors are people who enjoy, or prefer to, drink and drive. Idiot doesn’t even come close to being a sufficient adjective to describe those people.


6 neice December 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

My uncle is the one who came up with this product… It is meant for people who want to experience the taste of an alcoholic beverage but do not want to have to drink alcohol. In my mind, i think it is an amazing product.


7 The Discovering Alcoholic December 23, 2009 at 12:56 am

But still a poor choice for MADD IMHO.

Even though I am a supporter of MADD and agree that non-alcoholic “mimic” drinks may be a good alternative for designated drivers, I do question the wisdom of putting their name on adult beverages regardless of the content. MADD already has a large host of detractors from the ABI to minimum age opponents, and this move will certainly give them a controversial issue to target.


8 Barbara Dooley December 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

This is absoulutely a crazy idea. Why would MADD even consider this avenue!! My son is a victim of a drunk driving crash and will suffer for the rest of his life because someone chose to drink and drive. I teach at a local high school and you think putting your name on a non-alcoholic beverage will deter teens. They might start out this way, but it will eventually lead to a stronger beverage. I think you have certainly lost your credibility by choosing this avenue.


9 The Discovering Alcoholic December 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Agreed Barbara- I do not think MADD made a good move here. Seems less advocacy related and more financially motivated.


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