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buckfast-wine.jpgWho doesn’t love wine made in a monastery? What better than a group of monks who make their living through a winery? Kind of like Holy Drinking Water, blessed by priests in CA, and sold in convenience stores on the west coast, it’s always fun to discover a new Catholic beverage, especially when it’s alcoholic. But even more so when, like with Holy Drinking Water, it causes a controversy, as is the case with Buckfast Tonic Wine, made by benedictine monks and affectionately nicknamed “Wreck the Hoose Juice” by locals, among other things.
In the New York Times article, “For Scots, a Scourge Unleashed by a Bottle,” Saray Lyall reports:
“Buckfast has emerged as a symbol of Scotland’s entrenched drinking problems at a time when it is urgently debating how to address them. . .Legislation to curb drinking is of particular interest here in Scotland’s old industrial heartland, or the “Buckfast Belt,” where Buckfast is considered a regional favorite. The drink is so ubiquitous in this working-class town, not far from Glasgow, that some people call it Coatbridge Table Wine (others call it “loopy juice,” or, adding their own twist as they channel Travis Bickle, “Who’re you lookin’ at?” wine.)”
The irony about Buckfast becoming symbolic of a country’s drinking problems is, of course, the fact that it’s made by monks. The spokesperson for Buckfast, defended the poor, maligned monks:
“Buckfast accounted for less than 1 percent of the alcoholic beverage market in Scotland and was being unfairly singled out. Nor, he said, is wine-making a sign that the monks of Buckfast Abbey have strayed from the teachings of St. Benedict, an accusation recently leveled by an Episcopal bishop. “It’s always wise to remember that Jesus turned water into wine,” the spokesman, Jim Wilson, said in an interview.”
Unfortunately, Buckfast Tonic Wine doesn’t seem to be distributed in the United States. Perhaps this is for the best.

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