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Just the tonic? Buckfast monks make £8.8 million per year

A bottle has the same caffeine content as five coffees.
A bottle has the same caffeine content as five coffees.

Monks who brew the sickly sweet, caffeine-loaded Buckfast tonic wine are flush after selling more of the stuff than ever before, according to the latest stats.

The Benedictine brewers cleared a record £8.8 million in 2014/15, Charity Commission figures show.

Synonymous with so-called “ned” culture, a bottle of the syrupy elixir is 15% alcohol and has the same amount of caffeine as five coffees.

Five.

Benedictine monks have made the wine at Buckfast Abbey in Devon for some 100 years.

It was first marketed as a restorative, with health-giving properties: “Three small glasses a day for good health and lively blood.”

But, notoriously, it is often linked to episodes of violence and fights.

It was mentioned in some 6,500 crime reports in Scotland from 2010 to 2012, according to the BBC, showing why it has nicknames in Scotland like “wreck the hoose juice” and “commotion lotion”.

(David Cheskin/PA)
(David Cheskin/PA)

And last week, it featured heavily in an assault case heard at Dundee Sheriff Court.

According to the broadcaster, sheriff Alastair Brown told the court: “I’m aware that the monks of Buckfast Abbey advertise this as something to be taken in moderation.

“The fact is that some people drink far too much of it and get violent.”

The abbey has always distanced itself from the wine’s link to fights and attacks, saying they cannot control people abusing it and binge-drinking.

Buckfast Abbey Trust gets royalties on sales as it is a shareholder in J Chandler and Co, which bottles and sells the tonic.

Though the abbey trust did not give specific figures from wine-only sales due to commercial sensitivity, Buckfast makes up the majority of its income.

Read more: Buckie guzzling Brechin man jailed after taking tot out in pram

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