The monks who make the controversial tonic wine Buckfast, which has repeatedly been linked to anti-social behaviour in Scotland, have made £8.8 million in the past year.
The highly-caffeinated drink, often known north of the border as bucky, is made at Buckfast Abbey in Buckfastleigh, Devon.
Figures from the Charity Commission show that the Buckfast Abbey Trust made nearly £9 million in the year ending October 31, 2015, up from £7.9 million the previous year.
The fortified drink has been linked to offending, especially in the west of Scotland, with the Scottish Prison Service reporting last year that more than 43 per cent of inmates had consumed Buckfast before their last offence, despite the fact that it accounted for less than one per cent of total alcohol sales nationally.
Last week, a sheriff in Dundee said in his opinion there was a “very definite association between Buckfast and violence”.
Following a case about a boy who had drunk two-and-a-half bottles before carrying out an attack, Sheriff Alastair Brown said: “Those of us who have practised in any capacity anywhere in the west of Scotland have been particularly aware of that but I’ve seen it in this court as well, and also in Dundee High Court.”
The recipe for the tonic wine is attributed to the original French monks who settled at the abbey in the 1880s. By the 1920s it sold 1,400 bottles a year and in 1927 a marketing company took over distribution and sales.
Buckfast Abbey would not comment on what proportion of its income came from sales of the drink.
A spokesman added: “The Buckfast Charitable Trust exists to support the religious community at Buckfast Abbey and those engaged in charitable works.
“The trustees work hard to ensure the trust generates a healthy level of income so it can continue to provide this support.
“Whilst the tonic wine does generate an income, the new hotel-style accommodation at Buckfast Abbey and the recently-renovated conference centre have also contributed to the increase in income that the trust received.
“With regards to the recent comments made by Sheriff Alastair Brown, we are saddened to hear that, in the sheriff’s opinion, a small number of people in Scotland are not enjoying Buckfast Tonic Wine in a responsible way.
“We fully support the efforts of charities such as Drinkaware, who work to reduce alcohol misuse and harm in the UK.”
She added that the charitable trust was a minority shareholder in J Chandler and Co, which sells the wine, and sought to ensure it was marketed and distributed responsibly.
Source: The Telegraph