Photo by Kieran Dodds via: The New York Times
Paralleling Russia’s battles with alcoholism—(see: Soviet Anti-Alcohol Campaign)—Scotland’s drinking problems are prompting legislation to try and curb alcohol consumption and its attendant bad behavior.
Unfortunately for Buckfast, the popularity of its caffeine-fortified “tonic wine” (with consumers in this market) also makes it a prominent symbol of a social problem.
…the police in the depressed industrial district of Strathclyde recently told a BBC program that the drink had been mentioned in 5,638 crime reports between 2006 and 2009 (the bottle was used as a weapon in 114 of them)…
Legislation to curb drinking is of particular interest here in Scotland’s old industrial heartland, or the “Buckfast Belt,” where Buckfast is considered a regional favorite. The drink is so ubiquitous in this working-class town, not far from Glasgow, that some people call it Coatbridge Table Wine (others call it “loopy juice,” or, adding their own twist as they channel Travis Bickle, “Who’re you lookin’ at?” wine.) Buckfast is no newcomer to the market, having become popular in the first half of the 20th century, when it was prescribed by doctors for down-in-the-dumps miners and sold in drugstores.
One person’s helpful mood improver, though, is another’s worryingly effective stimulant. The drink is 15 percent alcohol by volume, a bit stronger than most wines. Also, each 750 milliliter bottle contains as much caffeine as eight cans of Coke.
For Scots, a Scourge Unleashed by a Bottle
By Sarah Lyall, NY Times, February 3, 2010
Interesting that—(like Vimto)—Buckfast began life as a health tonic. Sometime (when there’s time) boxvox must do a round-up of other contemporary products that began as Victorian patent medicines. (Like Coke, for instance.)
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