A Benedictine Abbey in Devon which manufactures Buckfast tonic wine made an £8.8m profit in 2014-15, it has been revealed. However the Abbey has been forced to defend its product against accusations the drink fuels anti-social behaviour in Scotland, where thousands of violent crimes are linked to "Bucky" as it is known locally.
Buckfast Abbey has produced the 15% vol caffeinated wine since the 1920s, though the original recipe was imported by French monks in the 1880s. The drink is distributed and sold by J Chandler, and the Abbey gets royalties on each bottle sold.
According to figures released by the Charity Commission, the Abbey made £8.8m in profit in 2014-15, the last year for which information is available. Although sales of its wine make up much of this revenue, the Abbey has declined to reveal exactly how much is from wine sales because it is commercially sensitive. A hotel and conference centre also contribute to revenue.
In Scotland, Strathclyde Police estimated that Buckfast was mentioned in 6,500 crime reports between 2010 and 2012. The Scottish Prison Service reports that 43 % of inmates drank Buckfast before committing their last offence, even though the drink accounts for just 1% of alcohol sales across Scotland.
On 6 December at Dundee Sheriff Court, Sheriff Alastair Brown made a link between Buckfast and violence. Speaking at the trial of a youth who smashed a bottle over someone's head after drinking Buckfast, Sheriff Brown quoted by the Daily Record as saying: "There is in my professional experience a very definite association between Buckfast and violence."
A spokeswoman for the Abbey told The Telegraph: "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."