Scottish police apologise to Buckfast3rd February, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
Police Scotland has apologised to Buckfast’s distributors, J Chandler & Co, for asking a shopkeeper to stop selling the tonic wine.
As reported by the BBC, the force has also agreed not to attach anti-crime labels to bottles of the wine unless it has “reasonable grounds” for doing so.
J Chandler & Co said it accepted assistant chief constable Wayne Mawson’s “very sincere” apology.
The distributor took legal action against Strathclyde Police last February in order to prevent bottles of Buckfast being made to carry anti-crime labels.
The system, known as bottle marking, allows the police to trace bottles associated with crime back to the shop where they were purchased.
J Chandler & Co argued that the labels were being used illegally to discriminate against the Buckfast brand, claiming that one police officer had asked a shopkeeper in Ayrshire to withdraw Buckfast from sale.
After a year-long legal battle, Police Scotland, which took over from Strathclyde in April 2013, has apologised to Buckfast for any “distress or inconvenience” caused to the shopkeeper
It has also promised not to target the tonic wine brand in a similar way again.
“We can confirm there has been an amicable settlement between Police Scotland and the owners of Buckfast,” a Police Scotland spokesperson told the BBC.
Each side covered their own legal expenses and no damages were paid.
Between 2010 and 2012, Strathclyde Police said Buckfast was mentioned in almost 6,500 crime reports.
Buckfast has an abv of 15% and each 750ml bottle contains 37.5mg/100ml of caffeine – more than eight cans of Coke.
Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon have been making the tonic wine, based on a French recipe, since 1890.
In 2010, the drink, known in Scotland as “Buckie”, “wreck the hoose juice” and “commotion lotion” rose to become the UK’s biggest selling fortified wine brand.
In December, health secretary Alex Neil called on the monks to “stop making” the tonic wine.