Buckfast monks should be stripped of charitable status over ‘dangerous’ tonic wine

'Blame it on the Buckie' t-shirt

‘Blame it on the Buckie’ t-shirt

Campaigners are calling for monks who make a controversial alcoholic drink to be stripped of their charitable status.

The National Secular Society – which works to challenge religious privilege – says Buckfast Tonic Wine is dangerous.

It is particularly popular in Scotland where it is known as ‘Buckie’ and been linked to 6,500 reports of antisocial behaviour and violence in just two years.

The drink has been made by monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon since the 1920s.

The Charity Commission revealed Buckfast Abbey Trust’s income for 2014/15 was £8.8m – mostly from its wine.

And since 2004 the Trust has made around £88m in royalties from each bottle.

The Trust does not pay tax on the income because it is a charity – which the National Secular Society says is an “abuse of the charitable system”.

They have now called on the Charity Commission to remove the charitable status.

Society vice president Alistair McBay said: “The monks should be setting an example as a religious organisation but the opposite is happening.

“The question needs to be asked ‘Are they serving God or Mammon?”

The Trust justifies its charitable status by saying its aim is the “advancement of the Roman Catholic religion”.

• Full story at the Glasgow Evening Times.

Buckfast Tonic Wine is made by the Roman Catholic Community of Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, and distributed by J. Chandler & Co (Buckfast) Ltd of Andover. Mention of the wine was removed from the Abbey’s website at some point after July 2011.