A post by Pat

Buckfast tonic wine, a.k.a. Buckie, is 15% alcohol, has more caffeine than Red Bull and is produced by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Monastery in Scotland. It is touted to be a relaxing medicinal tonic but now that it has become a cult drink among Scottish youth, it is also known as The Scourge of Scotland. It is a wine that is intended for tippling but the youngsters swill down the drink on street corners and then apparently go on rampages. Now the monks are being pressured to stop manufacturing the wine or change the recipe by taking out the alcohol and caffeine.

The product brings in millions of Euros for the Church so it’s a dilemma for the monks who have been selling the brew for 90 years. Buckfast Abbey is a charitable trust that funds Roman Catholic schools, churches and other good works. I don’t think they’ll be making that kind of money if they change the recipe as suggested.

The Right Rev. Bob Gillies, Episcopal Bishop of Aberdeen, told BBC the drink is “a scourge against our youngsters and the monks are leading people into sin. By continuing to produce the wine the monks, he says, are betraying Christian values and sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

Robert Hardman describes the problematic drink in The Daily Mail—

Don’t blame the monks for the drunks: It looks like gravy, tastes like Benylin and has the kick of a chorus line – my brush with Buckfast

For what it’s worth, my own tasting notes read as follows: a feisty, gravy-coloured tincture with strident tones of prune and swimming pool on the nose; a palate blending Dubonnet, cherry cola, Ribena, Benylin, aniseed, communion wine and Hubba Bubba strawberry bubble gum; plus a kick like a chorus line; improved with ice.

And it certainly has no shortage of advocates in Scotland, which consumes half of the world’s entire supply of Buckfast. Beware of its most dedicated consumers, however. Because, according to the police, the politicians, the BBC and a bishop, they may be hyperactive, incoherent and rather violent.

Bien pensant Scottish opinion has long been sniffy about Buckfast Tonic Wine. But this week, the entire liberal Establishment joined forces to attack an entirely legal product otherwise known as Buckie, Wreck The Hoose Juice, Commotion Lotion and a list of other nicknames which are unlikely to trouble the average bottle of Rioja.

This former medicinal pick-me-up has had its critics ever since it was adopted as a pre-match aperitif by Scottish football fans in the Seventies and went on to gain popularity among the thirstier members of the non-working classes. These days, the internet has endless footage of feckless, deadeyed youths trying to do the ‘Buckie challenge’ (down a whole bottle) in a matter of seconds – along with tales of Buckfastfuelled street violence.

This week, the wine was elevated to public enemy number one following a BBC1 documentary called The Buckfast Code. Quoting Strathclyde Police statistics, the programme said that Buckfast had been mentioned in 5,000 crime reports over the past three years.

These are extraordinary allegations. After all, Buckfast accounts for a mere 0.5 per cent of Scottish alcohol consumption. What’s more, the rest of the world manages to drink it very happily without feeling the urge to smash the bottle and carve pretty patterns on the face of the nearest passer-by. But what makes the outcry even more bizarre is the origin of this drink.

Had it been dreamt up by some cynical multi-national, then we might all be up in arms. But Buckfast Tonic Wine is produced by a handful of monks so gentle and disciplined that their idea of appalling behaviour would be, say, talking at mealtimes or sleeping until 6am.

And they couldn’t be much farther removed from the pools of blood and vomit which they are accused of creating in Glasgow. They live and work on the edge of Dartmoor.
So I have come to Buckfast Abbey, the source of this curiously powerful drink.

And the more I wander around this tranquil patch, the more preposterous it seems to blame just 16 cloistered Benedictines in Devon for unleashing bedlam on central Scotland.

So are the monks creating a scourge among Scottish youth or is it a matter of snobbery over the drink of choice for hooligans? Hardman asked one of the monks about the controversy.

I ask him about the attacks on his wine and he looks sad but unsurprised. ‘We have been making our tonic wine for 90 years for everyone, including little old ladies,’ he says.

I’ve heard those little old Scottish ladies are a pretty feisty bunch.

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15 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. franknitti says:

    Perhaps Buckfast wine is God’s way of getting even with Scotland for freeing the Lockerbie bomber. Hurrah for Billy Cumberland!

  2. Foreverautumn says:

    How incredibly typical of socialist do-gooders; always blame the object, never ever blame the people doing it. People are never responsible for anything that happens, it’s always someone or something else’s fault. The bottle of Buckie doesn’t float through the air and commit crimes, just like a gun doesn’t, but then again, try telling a bureaucrat that.

    This nonsense is exactly why I’m starting to have more and more serious reservations about the whole concept of this “war on drugs.” I’m also reminded of a saying to effect of if you cannot or will not control yourself, someone else will wind up having to control you, and you’re not going to like they way they do it.

  3. Young American says:

    Carry on dear monks. You make some fantastic brew. The unruly hooligans will just find something else to ingest if the monks can’t make the Buckie anymore. Why punish the monks for the behavior of the Scottish youth ? Hey Pat, at 15 % it sounds like it has a lot more of a kick to it than a Fat Tire ;) I think we should try some.

  4. thierry says:

    imported post-modern american puritanism. and if mother nature stopped making poppies there would be no heroin. let’s protest mother nature to save our children!

    clearly these people haven’t had chartreuse which is a powerful french hallucinogen also made by monks. manufactured from a large list of herbs that that evil mother nature, corrupter of youth, makes willy nilly, it’s only purpose seems to be tripping your face off and waking up in the gutter. they market it as a tonic, an “herbal elixir”. herbs- so natural; the trails before your eyes- so colorful. curiously powerful. but chartreuse is expensive and the rich have every right to get messed up and go on a rampage unlike the poor and working classes.

    this mess is coming from those in power to control people, the unruly rabble beneath them. regular people know the problem is with individuals who have free will. you can’t take away free will- even god won’t do it. so they think taking the product away is the answer. they’ll just find something else- sniffing glue, aerosol cans, whatever. teenagers are going to try to get high- always did, always will. do we stop making glue or spray cans because someone will abuse it? you can kill or hurt yourself or others with any number of household products or a rock for that matter.

    wasn’t it in england where they invented a sort of kitchen knife without a point so sous chefs would stop stabbing other people to death? i just shake my head. it’s the socialist state and dole culture that has primarily made for the constant generational eruptions of hopeless shiftless youth throughout the UK. and the male youths in any culture always commit the bulk of crime. they need to address the real social issues and problems not make a lone product the scapegoat for their failures as a society.

  5. Maynard says:

    It’s worth mentioning one of the lesser-known lyrics from “America the Beautiful”:

    America! America!
    God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.

    As expectation of self-control is reduced, then external controls must necessarily increase. Without self-control, there can be no liberty. If we’ve given up on the notion of personal responsibility, then the law must cease to be a protector of liberty.

    By the way, note my earlier post on the American campaign to outlaw alcohol/caffeine beverages through the regulatory process.

  6. Alain41 says:

    If Scotland had concealed carry firearms permit laws, there would be a lot less rampaging. Of course, in UK you can’t even protect yourself in your home with a firearm. Devising a ‘justice system’ that sets up the law abiding to be prey, results in the law abiding being prey. The instruments/tools that are used to carry out the attacks will always vary. Civil Rest starts with the citizen not the Bobby.

  7. trevy says:

    As a Southern Baptist, I don’t drink at all. But, I’m also a gun-owner, and so am familiar with the efforts here to blame gun manufacturers for criminal activity.
    Those monks make a product that is legal. They intend for people to just drink it casually and in moderation. The fact that some people choose to abuse it is NOT their fault.

  8. 1elder1 says:

    I was too intoxicated to continue on with the ingredients hic ah sa’cuse me…

    I really don’t drink any more . I am obnoxious enough sober.
    Thank me very much. -Mark Levin

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  10. [...] Bruce says don’t blame the monks for the reckless youth of [...]

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