Buckfast Tonic Wine began life as a medicine to cure all ills, and is now regularly blamed for contributing to the ills of society.

Fan or not, you can’t say Buckfast doesn’t add a bring something a little different to the party (before getting chucked out). Here’s something interesting facts about the most intoxicating of drinks…

1. Buckfast was originally sold as a medicine

First made by the Benedictine Monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon using a traditional French recipe, its slogan was “Three small glasses a day, for good health and lively blood”.

2. The recipe changed in the 1920s

In the 1920s when sales of the drink started to be managed by a wine merchant, the recipe was changed slightly to make it more of a medicated wine than medicine.

3. Is it actually wine?

Some have argued Buckfast Tonic Wine isn’t actually wine given that it’s made from unfermented grape juice fortified with ethanol.

4. Popularity in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Despite being made in Devon, Buckfast is hard to come by in England with its biggest fans being in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Lurgan, where Buckfast has gained the nickname Lurgan Champagne, a survey by the Lurgan Mail found that a quarter of alcohol sold in Lurgan off licences was Buckfast.


5. More than your RDA of caffeine

Buckfast has more caffeine than Red Bull and contains the same caffeine content as eight tins of coke or six cups of coffee.

6. More than your RDA of alcohol

A 750ml bottle contains 11.25 units of alcohol, recommended daily use is 3-4 for men and 2-3 for women.

7. Differences between UK and Irish Buckfast

The green bottle sold in the UK (including Northern Ireland) has more alcohol than the brown bottle sold in the Republic of Ireland but not as much caffeine.

8. An appearance on The Simpsons

While Buckfast made regular cameos on Scottish sitcom Rab C Nesbitt, it made its way over the Atlantic in 2010 when in a Simpsons episode, Groundskeeper Willie is seen knocking back a bottle of what looks suspiciously like Buckfast.


9. An apology to the Monks

Buckfast has been regularly cited for criminal behaviour in Scotland and here in Northern Ireland, however the Abbey’s monks have refused to shoulder anyone of the blame. They even got an apology from Strathclyde police after one officer told a shopkeeper to stop selling it.

10. The numbers on the bottles are not mystical

The numbers from one to 29 that are found near the bottom of Buckfast bottles have been subject to much myth and folklore as to how the bottle will taste. However we’re told they just correspond to each of the bottling machines they use to bottle it. Anyone that tells you otherwise has been drinking too much Buckfast.

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