Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 08:17 UK

Monks' drinks business to develop

Buckfast Abbey
The tonic has been made at the abbey for over a century

The monks who make Buckfast Tonic wine are planning to develop their business.

The drink, known as "Buckie", has been made for over a century by the Benedictine order at Buckfast Abbey on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

An application for a new winery facility has been made to Dartmoor National Park Authority.

The beverage, which is 15% proof, has been blamed by some politicians for encouraging under age drinking, but its makers reject the claim.

'Controversial' drink

More than 10% of the tonic's sales are in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Critics say its sweet taste and relatively cheap price make it popular with young drinkers.

Helen Liddell, former Secretary of State for Scotland, called for it to be banned.

And the drink was branded as "irresponsible" by Andy Kerr, former Scottish Executive Health Minister.

The wine's distributors, J Chandler & Co (Buckfast) Ltd, say critics are trying to blame the drinks industry, rather than tackling anti-social behaviour.

Commenting on the planning application a spokesman said: "We are replacing the winery because the previous one is more than 100 years old. It is not an expansion.

"Some people say it is a controversial drink, we do not."

The drink is produced using an original recipe from France. It was first made in the 1880s and was created as a health tonic, before being changed to become a smoother, medicated wine.

Buckfast tonic must continue to be brewed within the grounds of the abbey for it to keep its name.

Minister meets Buckfast company
30 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Scotland: A tonic of social problems?
01 Oct 06 |  Politics Show
Plastic Buckfast bottles petition
10 May 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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