The alcohol industry is involved in the production of alcohol-free drinks which uses the name and logo of MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving - on the products.
Brian Bolshin, the President & CEO of MADD Virgin Drinks, confirmed tonight that Stassen S.A. in Belgium, which is owned by Heineken N.V., is involved in the production.
MADD Virgin Drinks has separate agreements with MADD in the U.S. and MADD Canada to contribute a portion of each sale of their product sold in the two countries to the organizations.
According to Stassen's website, the company produces a variety of ciders, fruit ciders, and wines. The company produces products which contain alcohol and other products which are considered "non-alcoholic" and "alcohol-free."
MADD Virgin Drinks' also includes an alcohol-free craft brewed lager, which was created at Niagara College's Teaching Brewery in Canada. The Canadian Food and Wine Institute is located at Niagara College along with Niagara College's Teaching Winery.
The alcohol industry being involved in the production of MADD Virgin Drinks may conflict with MADD's policy in the U.S. to not accept funds from the alcohol industry, said the organization's founder.
Candace Lightner, who started MADD and who is now the President of We Save Lives, said MADD's involvement with MADD Virgin Drinks, "hurts their credibility." Lightner founded MADD after her 13-year-old daughter Cari was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender in 1980.
Information on the manufacturing process of MADD Virgin Drinks has previously been inaccurately reported.
MADD Canada's website states that Hill Street Marketing manufactures MADD Virgin Drinks. In a press release announcing the availability of MADD Virgin Drinks at Sobeys, which owns over 1,500 supermarkets in Canada, MADD Canada claimed "MADD Virgin Drinks are manufactured and distributed by Hill Street Marketing."
But Andrew Murie, the Chief Executive Officer of MADD Canada, confirmed that MADD Virgin Drinks are not manufactured by Hill Street Marketing. Murie said in a phone interview tonight, "we have an agreement with Hill Street or 'MADD Virgin Drinks' as the marketing brand and they contract with various vendors to produce the product."
I requested an interview with a representative of MADD in the U.S. about MADD Virgin Drinks being produced by Stassen S.A., which is owned by Heineken N.V. MADD declined my request for an interview, but in a statement, MADD said their "licensing agreement is solely with Hill Street Marketing, the marketer of MADD Virgin Drinks®, not with the manufacturer."