Pink Your Drink has breast cancer groups seeing red

A six-pack of Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade.

Do you pink your drink? (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/The Intoxicologist/

Pink ribbons are on display for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and product marketers are hopping on the bandwagon. However, Mike’s Hard Lemonade may not be welcome. According to USA Today, the alcoholic beverage manufacturer is hawking its latest seasonal brew, Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade. Admirably, a portion of sales are being committed to breast cancer research. However, the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute state that even moderate consumption of alcohol can contribute to breast cancer, so Mike’s campaign sends a mixed message that many feel is hypocritical.

If you pink your drink, consider the cancer risk

Pink clothes, pink make-up and even pink cars are well and good for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade gives many pause. Yet Mike’s isn’t alone in the pink alcoholic beverage movement. According to, other alcoholic beverage manufacturers are marketing such things as pink champagne, pink wine and pink vodka in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The novelty may indeed sell more products, but urging people to “pink their drink” in support of the battle against breast cancer is like tending to war-wounded with rusty knife; you’re inserting additional risk into the wound.

Pink Your Drink has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars

Pink vodka and liqueur maker Chambord claim to have earned more than $50,000 in donations for the Breast Cancer Network of Strength so far. Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade has given more than $500,000 over the past two years to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, according to company president Phil O’Neil. But that doesn’t mean they deserve a medal, says Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action. In no uncertain terms, Brenner told USA Today that “Anybody trying to sell alcohol to promote breast cancer awareness should be ashamed of themselves.”

Some breast cancer charities accept the money, others don’t

While the Breast Cancer Research Foundation takes money from Mike’s Hard Lemonade, foundation spokeswoman Anna DeLuca tells USA Today that her organization “in no way, shape or form endorses the consumption of alcohol.” Many other organizations reject donations from alcoholic beverage companies outright. They prefer the virgin variety when they pink their drink.


Ladies: To drink, or not to drink?

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