SCOTLAND: Police upset with monks' high-powered wine

February 11, 2010

A small band of Benedictine monks in the south of England has come under fire for producing a fortified wine that critics describe as the "scourge of Scotland" for its high alcohol content. The tipple, officially known as "Buckfast tonic wine" but nicknamed "commotion motion" or "wreck the hoose juice" by devotees in Britain's far north, is turned out at Buckfast Abbey, a monastery in the Devonshire hills of southwest England, Religion News Service reports. But "Buckie" has become a national favorite brew in Scotland -- doubtless in part because it contains about 15 percent alcohol by volume. In other words, it packs a punch, as the police report. In one Scottish police constabulary, in Strathclyde, "Buckie" has been mentioned in some 5,000 crime reports, one of every 10 of them involving violence, over the past three years. Police Superintendent Bob Hamilton said, "I think it's clear from the figures that there is an association there." It also was too much for the Rt. Rev. Bob Gillies, the Scottish Episcopal Church's bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, who in a BBC interview blasted what he described as the monks' "moral double-take" in manufacturing such a drink. They are doing so, he added, "knowingly aware of the social damage as well as the medical damage that it is doing to the kids who take it in such vast volumes." Former Scottish government minister Cathy Jamieson insisted to the broadcaster that the stuff is "related to anti-social behavior." According to the BBC, the Buckfast Abbey monks steadfastly reject requests for interviews, leaving Gillies to question what St. Benedict might have pondered about it all: "St. Benedict, I would have thought, would have been very, very unhappy with what his monks are doing nowadays."