Northern Ireland news

Off-licence limits Buckfast sales

Sales of Buckfast have been limited
Connla Young

THE sale of well -known tonic wine Buckfast is being rationed by some off-licences as supplies appear to be running low.

It emerged this week that some suppliers have limited the purchase of the wine to just two bottles.

It comes after makers of the popular tonic wine announced in March that they were temporarily stopping production due to the ‘unprecedented Covid-19 situation'.

Taken from a traditional French recipe, it was first made by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon in the 1890s.

It is popular in parts of Scotland and in Northern Ireland and is even known jokingly as 'Lurgan Champagne' in the Co Armagh town.

With production on hold and supplies diminishing, a bar based in Lurgan auctioned off its last bottle last week - netting £50 for charity in the process.

In 2017 a Lurgan firm took more than 2,000 orders for Buckfast within 24 hours of advertising a special Easter egg package.

Upper Bann SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly said the first time she ever heard of the drink was when she was asked for 'monkey's blood' when she worked in a bar in the late 1970s.

“It was known as a cheap drink and people joked they were supporting the monastery,” she said.

While she has never tasted the drink she said it "seemed to be a rite of passage for young people".

“There are some people who say it's for medicinal purposes, I would say they are few and far between these days.”

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