Against a backdrop of ever-increasing sales, health and safety concerns, a
serious shortage of space and increasing importance to its local economy,
the Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon are to bring production
of their notorious tonic wine into the 21st century with a new
The monks have applied to Dartmoor
National Park Authority for permission for what has been described as "a
major and substantial" facility within the grounds of the abbey, with the
likelihood of a new premises producing the drink on an industrial scale
within 18 months.
According to the planning application, lack of
storage "means a daily hand-to-mouth problem of preparing the tonic wine",
presenting problems with ferry timings for the incoming wine while
bottling can only happen relative to demand.
There are also
problems with compliance to food hygiene regulations due to the floor,
wall and ceiling finishes in the existing facility with staff facing
health and safety problems, having to "dip" tankers outside in all sorts
of weathers, while the constant flow of HGVs is not considered conducive
to the serene image the monastery is trying to present.
This is set
against a growth rate in sales of 7%, an employee tally of 120, one of the
highest in the Dartmoor area, more than 400,000 annual visitors to the
abbey and charitable work in the area "supported almost entirely by the
tonic wine and which can only exist by its continuing success".
story at The