Sales of Buckfast have soared by £2 million as more and more people in Britain develop a taste for the tonic wine.
The high-strength drink has made it into the UK’s bestselling alcohol brands for the first time, trade magazine The Grocer reported.
Buckfast has long been popular in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it is an increased demand in England that has seen sales jump by 7.9% – or £2 million – to £26.9 million in the past year.
The often controversial drink has reached 91st place in The Grocer’s league table of popular alcohol brands.
The drink, made by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon since the 1920s, has been linked in recent years to anti-social behaviour and violent crime in Scotland.
But the makers of the fortified wine, which has an alcohol content of 15%, are trying to dispel its negative image.
The Grocer noted that Buckfast’s rise is particularly impressive given it isn’t available in any of the big four supermarket chains – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
Instead, Bucky lovers must purchase their favourite tipple from the Co-op or local convenience stores and off-licences.
‘Buckfast is shaking off its controversial reputation to become one of the nation’s bestselling booze brands,’ said The Grocer.
‘Pitching Bucky as a dinner party drink to the chattering classes may be too tough a sell but plenty of other big players have proved that, with a little bit of creative thinking and flexibility, drinkers can be encouraged to rethink how much a brand is worth.’
Buckfast sales manager Stewart Wilson told The Grocer: ‘With some of the large groups that we have on board they are seeing growth down south which would indicate that they are picking up new business.”
‘We have done a lot of food shows down south and we want to educate people on how versatile Buckfast can be.’
He said attempts have been made to persuade drinkers that Buckfast can be an accompaniment to food, while mixologists have also been consulted to create Bucky cocktails.
However, news of the drink’s sales boost coincided with another negative story about the brand.
On Friday, a bottle of Buckfast was thrown from the crowd at Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths during a Champions League match against Linfield at Windsor Park in Belfast.
(Main picture: PA)