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Social Activists Call For Ban On Church Wine

January 18th, 2010

Peter John Glynn

Buckfast Abbey in Devon is world famous for it's wine production. The brew was first produced in 1890s by the Benedictine monks at at the Abbey using a recipe brought to the UK  from France, as indeed is the wine base used today.

The wine was originally sold in small quantities by the Abbey itself, as a medicine with the slogan "Three small glasses a day, for good health and lively blood".

The Abbey lost its licence to sell in 1927 and a wine merchant was used  to distribute the product.

But now the fortified broth is being blamed for spiralling anti-social behavoiur in an area not necessarily associated with fine wines. Buckfast - or Buckie as it is known in parts of Scorland -  was linked to 5000 crimes in Scotland's largest police force area in the last three years.

And almost one in 10 of those crimes in Strathclyde was violent, figures obtained under freedom of information laws show.

Researchers said the number of times Buckfast was associated with violence was shocking, as sales account for under half a per cent of the Scots drinks market.

The revelations are made in a BBC documentary to be shown tonight ( 18th January 2010) . It also looks at ingredients in the tonic wine and how they may affect behaviour.

Neuroscientist Dr Steven Alexander calculated there are 281mg of caffeine in a bottle of Buckfast - as much as in eight cans of cola.

Some drinkers get through two bottles of Buckfast a day.

Dr Alexander said: "It's going to have the person bouncing around all over the place."

The monks of Buckfast Abbey and their distribution partners strenuously deny that their product is particularly harmful, saying that it is responsibly and legally enjoyed by the great majority of purchasers. They also point out that the areas identified with its acute misuse have been economically deprived for decades.

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