How to Drink and Drive – Responsibly. No Kidding.

MADDVirginDrinksIf there’s one thing this we’ve stressed on this blog from day one, it’s that you should never drink and drive.

Now we’re inviting you to have a few glasses of wine, chug some beers, or down a cocktail or two before driving home.

Before you report us to the DMV, please note that this invitation only applies to those imbibing MADD Virgin Drinks, a line of alcohol-free wine, beer, and cocktails from Canada.

MADD? Mothers Against Drunk Driving is making wine? Not exactly.

MADD Virgin Drinks is a Toronto-based company which produces non-alcoholic beverages as an alternative for people who enjoy social drinking but want to be responsible and sober behind the wheel. The company licenses the MADD name, and in return donates 5% of its profits to the organization, which fights drunk driving on several fronts.

“We created our company for MADD,” says CEO Brian Bolshin. “We’ve been a major supporter of them since we started the company.”  In fact, last year the company donated $101,000 to the cause.

Using a proprietary, hush-hush process, MADD Virgin Drinks produces beverages that are zero alcohol – anyone can drink them. The products include red and white wines, a sparkling brut, a lager, and canned margarita and mojito cocktails.

The products have been available for about 3 years in Canada, and for about a year in the US, where about 3000 Walgreens stock them.

Reception has been enthusiastic – sales have taken off. Not just designated drivers but pregnant and breast feeding women are avid customers, having found a way to stay social and alcohol-free at the same time. So are people who are taking medications that interact with alcohol, and those who refrain for cultural reasons. The company prides itself on having achieved a taste that has spurred what Bolshin describes as “tons of email” praising both the drinks and the cause they support.

Accolades come not just from the drinking public: MADD Craft Brew Lager won the gold medal at the 2014 US Open Beer Championship in the non-alcoholic category, shutting down rivals from Europe, where brewing non-alcoholic beer is a long tradition and big business.

Bolshin notes another reason to choose his company’s products: alcohol is extremely caloric. “A typical glass of wine is 150 to 300 calories. Ours is 35.”

You can find out where to purchase MADD Virgin Drinks in the US and Canada here.

So you now have permission to drink up your red wine or beer and drive, and contribute to MADD while you do it.

Just check the label carefully before you take a sip. This is one case where substitutions just don’t fly.