Alcohol-Free and Nutrient-Rich, This Beer Was Designed Specifically for Cancer Patients

Mamma Beer was a very personal project for Y&R Prague's CCO

Nine breweries were approached to create Mamma Beer, but only one, Zatec, was willing to take on the project. Y&R Prague
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Chemotherapy is a harsh treatment for many forms of cancer, including breast cancer, and can cause a wide range of painful or simply uncomfortably side effects that make recovery especially difficult. For women undergoing chemotherapy, proper nutrition is vital, but the treatment’s effect on taste can make many foods and drinks unpalatable.

Mamma HELP, A Czech organization that helps women with breast cancer and their families, wanted to do something about that.

With the help of agency Y&R Prague, the advocacy group has created Mamma Beer, the first beer designed specifically for women with breast cancer. Mamma Beer has a sweeter flavor to offset chemotherapy’s negative impact on the patient’s sense of taste. It’s alcohol-free and packed with nutrients (including vitamin B and potassium) to give patients strength while undergoing treatment.

The journey for Y&R to become involved in this cause was a personal one. Tereza Sverakova, CCO of Y&R Prague, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer several years ago. In one day, her life changed completely as  she began undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

“I had breast cancer when I was only 34 years old,” she tells Adweek. “It was some time ago, but it is unforgettable. When Mamma HELP asked us to do an awareness campaign for them, it was an opportunity for me to dive into these painful memories and use them to try to turn them into something good. Chemotherapy is tough, and one of the side effects that many people are not aware of is a loss of taste. Everything tastes horrible, like metal.”

"Chemotherapy is tough, and one of the side effects that many people are not aware of is a loss of taste. Everything tastes horrible, like metal."
Tereza Sverakova, CCO, Y&R Prague

The agency and nonprofit saw an opportunity for a new product in the gap between what doctors recommended and what cancer patients can actually tolerate.

“Doctors often recommended drinking beer, in moderation, to get some nutrition and vitamins,” Sverakova says. “It really does help, but the taste is just so bitter! So, we thought it would be great to develop beer specifically for women undergoing chemo–beer that has all the vitamins and nutrients, but has no alcohol and is made sweeter to kill the bitterness. A beer that would help counter this side effect of chemo and promote Mamma HELP at the same time. We approached nine breweries, but just one said yes: Zatec. It took them half a year to develop the beer. Those who tasted Mamma Beer have found it to be great. That’s the biggest reward.”

Zatec Brewery’s limited-edition creation was distributed through select local pharmacies and the Mamma HELP website. The beer was also given out for free at oncology hospitals and Mamma HELP centers. It was showcased at Prague Beer Fest and Prague International Marathon, and will be part of the upcoming Czech Food Festival.

Regional Chief Creative Officer: Jaime Mandelbaum
Chief Creative Officer: Tereza Sverakova
ECD: Dora Pruzincova
CD Art: Marco Antonio do Nascimento
Art Director: Josef Janac, Marcos Siqueira
Copywriter: Iva Psenickova, Dusan Koutsky
Designer: Neil Johnston
Director: Artem Leontev
Digital Strategist: Jaroslav Horvath
Agency Producer: Martina Teuchnerova
Executive Managing Director: Tomas Dvorak

@cara_02 Cara Anderson is a contributor to Adweek.