Boy, do the Scots love Buckfast. The fortified wine, brewed by monks in a Benedictine abbey in the south of England, doesn't have the best reputation, what with Scottish MPs routinely blaming the drink for the nation's violence, as well as its association with antisocial “Ned” culture. And yet, Buckfast sales continue to rise, reaching a record high in January of this year.
Indeed, it’s not just Buckfast that Scotland sees high sales of. The country, which has 54 percent more alcohol-related deaths a year than England and Wales, introduced a “minimum unit pricing” (MUP) on alcohol this year in a bid to reduce the nation’s alcohol abuse problem.
Except, while the policy aimed to deter problem drinkers by hiking the price of cheap alcoholic drinks, it seems to have had the opposite effect on that cursed (blessed?) tonic wine. According to the Herald Scotland, sales of Buckfast have soared after the introduction of MUP, with customers now opting for the fortified wine over ciders that have seen their prices triple.
Research commissioned by cider maker Aston Manor shows that sales of Buckfast have risen 17 percent year-on-year in the months following the introduction of MUP, equivalent to 3,630 extra bottles a day. This is because the price of Buckfast was unaffected by MUP, as it is already priced above 50p per unit.
Comparatively, Frosty Jack’s—a white cider—has seen its price more than triple from £3.70 to £11.25 after MUP, resulting in a drop in sales from 240 bottles a day in 2017 to 24 in 2018.
Buckfast, a caffeinated tonic wine, has gained something of a cult status for its combination of alcohol and caffeine, and its palatable sweet taste. Although the Scots are known for their love of the drink, it actually originates in Devon at Buckfast Abbey.
Clearly, no one can stop the rise of the sweet, holy elixir. Not even the Scottish government.