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Cocktails and coq au Buckie take notorious wine upmarket

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IT’S one of the most controversial drinks on the market.

Buckfast has often been linked to drunken, violent behaviour across Scotland.

And the Scottish Prison Service say 43% of young male inmates had consumed Buckfast prior to committing their offence.

But now the much-maligned tonic wine – dubbed “the commotion lotion” by fans – is moving upmarket.

Sales have grown by £2 million over the past year to £26.9m, and it’s being driven by an effort to turn the drink into a luxury brand.

A serving of the Buckfast sorbet served at the restaurant Artisan in Wishaw, North Laranrkshire.

Most of Buckfast’s sales increases aren’t in the drink’s usual heartland of Scotland – instead they’re coming from England, according to Stuart Wilson, Buckfast’s sales manager.

Buckfast have employed TV chef Martin Blunos to showcase “how versatile it can be” when accompanied with food.

He has created a range of meals including Buckie butternut squash salad with Buckfast glazed pumpkin seeds, and even coq au Buckie.

And they’ve worked with mixologists to create a range of cocktails, including the Buckfast bramble and the Devon punch.

Michelin star chef Martin Blunos who has been using Buckfast tonic wine in some of his creations.

Buckfast’s sales news has been branded doubly successful as it it’s not sold in any of the big four supermarkets.

“With some of the large groups we have on board they are seeing growth down south, which would indicate they’re picking up new business,” said Mr Wilson.

Buckfast has been cited in 6500 reports of anti-social behaviour in Scotland over the past two years.

But Mr Wilson rejected criticism of the brand, saying it had been used as “a political football”.

“We are no different to from any other alcoholic beverage,” he said.

“Politicians have used Buckfast to get their names in lights.”