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Buckfast makers toast massive rise in sales

SALES of Buckfast have soared by 15 per cent in the past year with more than £41 million worth of bottles sold. New figures show that underlying profits at the firm which makes the tonic wine rose to £3.48m after a big surge in sales ahead of a rise in duty in March’s Budget.

It helped to push overall sales up from £36.3m the previous year and helped pre-tax profits hit £7.7m. The figures were reported in the annual report of Buckfast maker J Chandler, which makes the tonic wine at Buckfast Abbey in Devon.

However, a Scottish sheriff said last month there was a “very definite association between Buckfast and violence”. The abbey said it was “saddened” by the “judge’s opinion” that a “small number of people in Scotland are not enjoying Buckfast in a responsible way”.

Figures from the Charity Commission showed Buckfast Abbey Trust’s income was £8.8m in 2014-15, the latest year for which figures are currently available. The caffeinated wine, also known as Bucky, has been made at the Benedictine abbey since the 1920s. The abbey trust is a shareholder in the wine’s distributor and seller, J Chandler, based in Hampshire, and gets a royalty fee for every bottle sold.

The monks have invested millions of pounds in the restoration of the abbey and visitor facilities and have also earmarked £3million for updating its 33-bedroom hotel and its conference centre. The abbey declined to give figures for income directly from wine sales, saying it was “commercially sensitive” and said the hotel and conference centre “also contributed to the increase in income”.

It also said the trust “strives to work with J Chandler and Co to ensure that the tonic wine is marketed and distributed responsibly”. “The majority of people who drink the tonic wine do so responsibly,” it said, adding that it supported charities such as Drinkaware. Between 2010 and 2012, Strathclyde Police said Buckfast was mentioned in almost 6,500 crime reports.

Source: The Herald Scotland

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