The controversial Buckfast fortified tonic wine, mixing 15 percent alcohol, ‘tons of sugar’ and a caffeine content higher than Redbull, is about to land on New Zealand’s shelves in smaller-size bottles. Often linked to crime and known as Glasgow hooligans’ drink of choice, the brand has caused a stir amongst Kiwi public health groups, with Alcohol Healthwatch even considering legal action against the brand, claiming that its marketing encourages irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
According to a previous version of Buckfast’s website, now amended, the drink bolstered its reputation for getting people ‘pretty uniquely trashed’, a statement that has proven to be correct. In Scotland, a Labour MP has proposed restrictions on caffeinated drinks due to crime-related reasons, after the country’s prison service found that over 40 percent of those who admitted drinking before their last offence had consumed Buckfast. In addition, over the past years alcohol-caffeine drinks have been linked to alcohol poisoning, binge drinking and drink-driving, making people underestimate how intoxicated they are.
Auckland grocery store Lane’s Foods, in Penrose, is set to host the official launch of Buckfast in New Zealand next Saturday. Whilst Buckfast has actually been intermittently sold over the past six years in 750 ml bottles, Lane’s will now sell it in 350 ml bottles and 250 ml cans.