What the Pink?: Boozing for Boobs

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Ms. blog will be running a series of pieces devoted to the disease and activism around it. 

It is now October, which means that Halloween is around the corner, the pumpkin decorations are out and … what is that? Oh, the color pink, slathered onto every billboard, advertisement and product possible.

If you haven’t heard of pinkwashing already, it is a term coined by Breast Cancer Action and has become increasingly popular over the years. A “pinkwasher” is a company or organization that says they care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribbon product, but that product either has nothing to do with good health or may even contain ingredients linked to the disease. There are many groups of products that are pinkwashing offenders; we’ll first look at alcohol products.

Not only has the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer institute classified alcohol as a risk factor in breast cancer, but the notion that getting drunk relates to breast cancer research or treatment is ludicrous. Below is a compilation of some of the worst “pink” alcohol campaigns to date.

1. Sutter Home Wine “Capsules for Hope

Much like Yoplait‘s pink campaign, the premise of “Capsules for Hope” is that buyers will mail in a capsule for each pink bottle of White Zinfandel that they buy and Sutter Home Wine will donate one dollar per capsule to City of Hope, a clinical research and cancer treatment center.

Even if a person buys one bottle of White Zinfandel a day (at $12 a pop for a 1.5L bottle) for the entirety of the campaign (Aug. 1- Dec. 31) and sends in each capsule, Sutter Home will only be donating $153. This is after you have spent a whopping $1,836 on White Zinfandels, or $918 on 750mL bottles, excluding tax and the price of stamps.

Wouldn’t it be easier on your liver if you just wrote a check to City of Hope or another favorite breast cancer action charity?




2. Chambord Liqueur “Pink your Drink

According to their website, Pink your Drink’s pitch is that they will donate $1 for every 375 or 750 bottle of Chambord Liqueur sold during October to All4One Alliance, a nonprofit breast cancer awareness organization.

A 750 bottle of Chambord is approximately $25, depending on what region you are buying from. If you bought a 750 bottle every day in October, you will have spent $750, of which only $31 of that will go towards All4One Alliance.




3. Mt. Vernon Winery “Global Journey Wine

Mt. Vernon markets their Global Journey campaign as being the only one in the world with “exclusive rights from Dr. Ernie Bodai to wear the Breast Cancer stamp on their bottle of wine.” Dr. Bodai was a part of a one-man lobbying effort that ultimately produced the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, after convincing Congress and the U.S. Postal Service.

While there are only two Global Journey wines (at $22 and $23 each), 12.5 percent of the proceeds will go towards “finding a cure for breast cancer,” though the website doesn’t mention any specific organization that will receive the donations. Do the math: That is only $2.75 or $2.88 donated every time a 2009 Chardonnay or 2007 Syrah is sold.







4. Support Her Vodka 

Yes, this is an ultra-premium bottle specifically designed for breast cancer awareness alone. Its slogan: “The vodka that makes a difference.”

On your liver, maybe.

How much of the proceeds actually go towards “finding the cure”? No idea–their website is inactive as of right now.







5. Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade

Though no longer on the market, Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade has raised thousands of dollars for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The product was originally inspired by the loss of an employee, Jacqueline, who died from the disease.

25 percent of the profit of Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade went to the Canadian Breast Caner Network.

“The donations we make to breast cancer research are not tied to sales; they are our way of honoring Jacqueline,” Phil O’Neil, president of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, said in a statement.

Good intentions. But it’s still alcohol.


Photo of White Zinfandel via Sutter Home Wine; Photo Chambord Liqueur via Chambord; Photo of Global Journey Wine via Mt. Vernon Winery; Screenshot via Support Her Vodka; Photo of Pink Lemonade via Mike’s Hard Lemonade.