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  1. ITV Report

Wine producing monastery nets £9mil profit in a year

A Devon monastery which produces wine made nearly £9 million in profit last year, it's been revealed.

Monks at Buckfast Abbey have been making caffeinated drink Buckfast wine - known as 'bucky' - since the 1920s.

Figures from the Charity Commission showed the Buckfast Abbey Trust made £8.8 million in the financial year ending October 31, 2015, up from £7.9 million the previous year.

Credit: Buckfast Wine

The fortified drink is highly popular in parts of Scotland, but has been linked to offending and anti-social behaviour.

More than 6,500 crime reports were linked to it in in just two years, and the Scottish Prison Service found that last year, 43% of inmates had consumed the drink before their last offence.

That's despite it accounting for less than 1% of total alcohol sales nationally.

The recipe for the tonic wine is attributed to the original French monks who settled at the Abbey in the 1880s.

By the 1920s the abbey sold 1,400 bottles a year, and, in 1927, a marketing company took over distribution and sales.

The Abbey would not comment on what proportion of income came from sales of the tonic wine.

A Buckfast Abbey spokeswoman said: "Buckfast Abbey's charitable trust, the Buckfast Charitable Trust, exists to support the religious community at Buckfast Abbey and those engaged in charitable works.

The trustees work hard to ensure the trust generates a healthy level of income so it can continue to provide this support.

As such, the trust makes money in a number of ways. Whilst the tonic wine does generate an income, the new hotel-style accommodation at Buckfast Abbey and the recently-renovated conference centre have also contributed to the increase in income that the trust received.

– Buckfast Abbey spokeswoman
Buckfast Abbey

Last week, a Sheriff in Dundee reportedly said there was a "very definite association between Buckfast and violence".

The Abbey said they were "saddened to hear" of the link and that "a small number of people in Scotland are not enjoying Buckfast Tonic Wine in a responsible way."

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The Monastery is founded

The drink has been made by the Benedictine monks of Buckfast Abbey in Devon since the 1920s and a new winery - with four vats, each holding 130,000 litres - was built in 2011.

The base wine was first imported from Spain, and nowadays from France and ingredients include red wine, phosphates, caffeine and vanillin.