Monks who make the infamous tipple should not enjoy charity status
A Benedictine Abbey, infamous for producing “violent” wine that has been the scourge of Scotland’s housing estates, should be stripped of its charity status.
Buckfast Abbey Trust, which produces Buckfast Tonic Wine, does not pay tax on its income because it is a charity, something which the National Secular Society claims is an "abuse of the charitable system".
The legend that is Bucky
1. Buckfast was originally sold as a medicine
2. Despite being made in Devon, Buckfast is hard to come by in England with its biggest sales being in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
3. Buckfast has more caffeine than Red Bull and contains the same caffeine content as eight tins of coke or six cups of coffee.
4. A 750ml bottle contains 11.25 units of alcohol, recommended daily use is 3-4 for men and 2-3 for women.
5. While Buckfast made regular cameos on Scottish sitcom Rab C Nesbitt, it made its way over the Atlantic in 2010 when in a Simpsons episode, Groundskeeper Willie is seen knocking back a bottle of what looks suspiciously like Buckfast.
6. Buckfast has been regularly cited for criminal behaviour in Scotland however the monks once got a formal apology from Strathclyde police after one officer told a shopkeeper to stop selling it.
The society is now calling on England and Wales’ Charity Commission to remove the trust's charitable status "unless they change their activities".
Vice president Alistair McBay said: "The monks should be setting an example as a religious organisation but the opposite is happening.
"The question needs to be asked 'Are they serving God or Mamon?"
Last year the caffeine-laced teenagers’ tipple made a record £8.8m from sales. Overall it has made about £88m since 2004 from wine sales, according to the Charity Commission.
Buckfast has legendary status in some areas of the UK, not least of which is in Lanarkshire where the wine makes most of its profits.
A Scottish sheriff said last year there was a "very definite association between Buckfast and violence".
In 2015, the Scottish Prison Service found 43.4% of inmates had consumed Buckfast before their last offence, despite it accounting for less than 1% of total alcohol sales nationally.
Known as “Commotion Lotion” and “Wreckin’ the Hoose Juice”, the tonic wine is also hugely popular in Northern Ireland and in the north east of England.
The trust justifies its existence as a charity in its annual report, stating its aim is the "advancement of the Roman Catholic religion".
The Charity Commission said it would "assess the information about the Buckfast Abbey Trust to determine if there is a regulatory role for the Commission".
The cult status of the wine in Scotland is such that it has its own “celebration day.” Buckfast Day will be celebrated this year on on May 13 with an event to celebrate the date launched on Facebook, with over 1,300 people confirmed as attending.
Last year, the first national event was recognised by more than 25,000 people.
According to organisers, the day can be enjoyed at home, with friends and out and about, “as long as you enjoy your Bucky safely.”
Stewart Wilson, from Buckfast's distribution company, J Chandler, said: "The national event started last year by loyal consumers of our brand and through social media we have established that fans of Buckfast are now calling it World Buckfast Day."