The Buck­fast boom

Scots drink ex­tra 3,600 bot­tles a day af­ter min­i­mum pric­ing

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Gareth Rose SCOT­TISH PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

SALES of Buck­fast have soared in the wake of the SNP’s crack­down on cheap al­co­hol, with many heavy-drink­ing Scots switch­ing to the po­tent tonic wine.

Since the Scot­tish Govern­ment in­tro­duced min­i­mum unit pric­ing (MUP) in early May, sales of Buck­fast have grown by £5.3 mil­lion to £36.5 mil­lion – equiv­a­lent to an ex­tra 3,630 bot­tles a day of the 15 per cent drink made at Buck­fast Abbey in Devon.

De­spite the SNP ban on sell­ing al­co­hol for less than 50p a unit, sales anal­y­sis com­mis­sioned by cider maker As­ton Manor shows Scots spent 11 per cent more on drink, and con­sumed 4 per cent more, than in the cor­re­spond­ing 24 weeks of last year.

Last month The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day re­ported that in the first three months of MUP, Scots drank an ad­di­tional 1.8mil­lion litres of al­co­holic bev­er­ages, equiv­a­lent to more than two mil­lion bot­tles of wine.

While sales of some drinks such as cheap white cider fell, other forms ben­e­fited – in­clud­ing Buck­fast.

Miles Briggs, Scots Tory health spokesman, said: ‘This is the very rea­son the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives in­sisted on a sun­set clause be­ing in­serted as part of this pol­icy. This means that should this wor­ry­ing pat­tern con­tinue, the Scot­tish par­lia­ment will be able to scrap min­i­mum pric­ing and in­ves­ti­gate other ways of tack­ling Scot­land’s dam­ag­ing re­la­tion­ship with al­co­hol. ‘We warned min­i­mum unit pric­ing could re­sult in the un­in­tended con­se­quence of con­sumer be­hav­iour change, with in­di­vid­u­als mov­ing from ciders to cheaper prod­ucts. ‘Buck­fast, for ex­am­ple, is no more ex­pen­sive than it was prior to the unit price leg­is­la­tion.’ In 2015 the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice found more than 43 per cent of in­mates had drunk Buck­fast be­fore their last of­fence. Since 2014, the wine has been linked to more than 6,500 cases of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour and vi­o­lence.

Mean­while high-strength cider Frosty Jack’s, made by As­ton Manor, has suf­fered a 70 per drop in sales.

An As­ton Manor spokesman said: ‘We shared with the Scot­tish Govern­ment that mod­er­ate drinkers would be dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected, those on low in­comes would be pe­nalised and many con­sumers would shift con­sump­tion. The ev­i­dence af­ter six months is that all three are hap­pen­ing.’

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokesman said: ‘Our min­i­mum unit pric­ing pol­icy is a worldlead­ing ini­tia­tive and early in­di­ca­tions sug­gest a 70 per cent re­duc­tion in sales of one brand of “in­dus­trial strength” cheap cider.’

A spokesman for J Chan­dler & Co, maker of Buck­fast, said: ‘Our sales have been in­creas­ing over the last two to three years, but we can’t at­tribute that to MUP.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.