MADD peddling margaritas -- sans alcohol

WASHINGTON MADD is putting its name on a bevy of nonalcoholic drinks, including mojitos, margaritas, pina coladas, beer, and red, white and sparkling wines.

The advocacy group says it signed a license agreement with a Toronto-based marketing firm to produce the line of beverages, called MADD Virgin Drinks. They'll be sold starting this fall, with some of the profits directed toward discouraging drunk driving.

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 drinks are licensed with Hill Street Marketing Inc. The company and MADD officials said they are still working out distribution, but plan to offer the drinks in grocery, drug and specialty stores.

Brian Bolshin, Hill Street's president and CEO, said "a significant portion of sales" would go to MADD.

Chuck Hurley, chief executive officer of Irving, Texas-based MADD, said his organization learned about the concept from MADD's Canadian affiliate, which has pursued a similar line of drinks.

"What's important to us is that a designated driver should be sober -- not just the least drunk," Hurley said. "So a virgin cocktail perhaps would be a little more festive than just a club soda and lime and allow the person to participate in the festivities but be the sober driver to get people home."

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