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Buckfast: Controversial tonic wine to be sold in cans for first time

By Antonia Molloy

Buckfast is to be sold in cans for the first time, the firm behind the controversial tonic wine has announced.

The alcoholic drink, which is brewed by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon and distributed by J Chandler and Company, has been linked to a damaging drinking culture and criminality in Scotland.

The firm said it will start selling the 250ml cans for £2.90 in the summer, the Daily Record reported.

The brew, which contains 15 per cent alcohol and high levels of caffeine, is currently sold in 750ml bottles for around £7.

J Chandler said the move would help the Scottish Government’s drive to promote more responsible alcohol consumption, after public health minister Michael Matheson called on businesses to sell smaller meaures.

Stewart Wilson, sales manager for the firm, told the newspaper: “The reason why we wanted to bring out a can is firstly we get asked quite regularly to bring out Buckfast in different shapes and sizes and it’s something we have looked at but never really considered at any great length.

“The public health minister for Scotland called on businesses to promote responsible consumption of alcohol and make smaller measures of wine available to consumers in January.

“That’s when we decided we should look at bringing Buckfast out in a smaller unit.”

He said the firm hoped the product would appeal to barbecue-goers over the summer months.

Mr Wilson added: “Buckfast is no different to any other alcohol producer and it’s down to the retailer to ensure that they’re selling their alcohol responsibly.”

The firm will initially release 16,000 cans and then adopt them as a permanent product if sales prove successful.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Clearly, it is important that people have the ability to choose a smaller measure if they wish. However, time and time again, the research proves that affordability is the key factor in the misuse of alcohol and that the most effective way to tackle this is by setting a minimum unit price.

“This is about targeting the drink that is cheap relative to strength, which causes so much harm within communities, often in the most deprived areas of Scotland.”

According to the BBC, Strathclyde Police said Buckfast was mentioned in almost 6,500 crime reports between 2010 and 2012.

Earlier this year, 33-year-old Tracy Meikle, from Glasgow, was sentenced to life in prison or stabbing to death 36-year-old Lorraine Foy, while under the influence of Valium, Buckfast and cider.

Source: Independent

Further reading

Buckfast tonic wine most popular alcoholic drink in Lurgan

'Buckfast' rioter gets six-month jail term 

Buckfast: Monks more used to prayers than to controversy

Buckfast: Tonic wine now associated with crime, violence and binge drinkers 

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