Buckfast Tonic Wine

From Academic Kids

Buckfast Tonic Wine, commonly known as simply Buckfast or Buckie (in Scotland), is a tonic wine produced by Buckfast Abbey in South Western England. The wine was first produced in 1890s by the monks at Buckfast Abbey using a recipe brought over from France.

Originally sold as a medicine with the slogan "Three small glasses a day, for good health and lively blood", in 1927 the Abbot signed a deal with wine merchants to sell the wine on a commercial basis.

In recent times, Buckfast has gained an unenviable reputation as the drink of choice for underage drinkers and chronic alcoholics alike. Its high strength (15% alcohol by volume) combined with its low price and sweetness mean that many find Buckfast to be the ideal means by which to become drunk as quickly and cheaply as possible.

This abusive use of Buckfast is particularly prevalent in the poorer districts of Greater Glasgow in Scotland, and in the surrounding deprived communities (in an area known colloquially as The Buckfast Triangle, with the towns of Airdrie, Bellshill, and Coatbridge it its vertices). Here Buckfast is mostly sold in off-licences (liquor stores) for consumption off the premises, and groups of youths (commonly identified as neds) can frequently be seen drinking it (at all times of day) in parks and other public places.

Many politicians and social activists single out Buckfast Tonic Wine as being particularly responsible for crime, disorder, and general social deprivation in these communities (although other low-priced alcoholic beverages are also very popular). Helen Liddell, former Secretary of State for Scotland, even called for the wine to be banned. In South Lanarkshire (in which much of the Buckfast Triangle lies), the local council refuse to give licences to sell alcohol to shop keepers intending on stocking Buckfast.

The monks of Buckfast Abbey and their distribution partners strenuously deny that their product is particularly harmful, saying that it is responsibly and legally enjoyed by the great majority of purchasers. They also point out that the areas identified with its acute misuse have been economically deprived for decades, and that Buckfast represents a relatively small proportion of the total alcohol sales there as in other places.

The label on a contemporary bottle of Buckfast reads:

Buckfast TONIC WINE
The name "Tonic Wine" does not imply
health giving or medicinal properties
Made by THE BENEDICTINE MONKS
BUCKFAST ABBEY Devon, England

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