Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Hate Buckfast

I subscribe to an online newsletter called “Drinks Business”.  It is this UK based alcohol business newsletter that I was told with a wagging finger that I had better read.  It is almost completely useless to me as most of the articles are about obscure brands and markets in which I will never come in contact.  They run a lot of stories about things like “Local Wankers Make Gin and Tonics at Posh Event With Obscure Gin Brand” and “Rudd Brothers Announces Partnership with Sporty Spice’s Navarra Winery”.  It’s all British shit.  Lots of pictures of pale guys named Roger and pasty women named Emma smiling with drinks.  Every once in a while an article peaks my interest…  

Yesterday I saw what might be the greatest alcohol promotion of all time.  As per the picture above, a product called “Buckfast” created an obviously child targeted packaging Easter promotion.  If you buy this special Buckfast package, you’ll get a chocolate easter egg, a small bottle of Buckfast, and “Buckfast Merchandise”.  It’s all quite exciting.  Especially since the “special merchandise” was a Buckfast disposable pen and lighter.  This was the work of a marketing genius.  I cannot tell you how jealous I am that my fingerprints are not on this thing.  I may have been the mind that came up with that Cowslingers poster with “free cigarettes for the kids”, but this is out of my league.  To combine an Easter egg, booze, and a lighter?  It is inspired!  What twisted mind ventured there?

 The story got even better when I looked into Buckfast.  “Bucky”, as it is affectionately known, is a “tonic wine”.  What this means is that either cheap bulk wine or maybe just straight grape juice has ethanol dumped into it to level it off at 15% alcohol.  Making it even more exciting, they add more caffeine than a Red Bull plus “special ingredients” (which appear to be terrifying chemicals).  This is a MadDog Turbo.  From what I gather, it tastes like cough syrup and rips your face off.  This is what “Neds” drink.  I have learned a “Ned” is essentially a Scottish jugaloo or perhaps their version of a Wichita Buzzcut.  There is a staggering amount of Buckfast drunk around Glasgow, so much so that police records indicate that 43.4% of Scottish inmates had consumed Bucky before their last offense.  With 15% alcohol, a screw top, and a nice little glass bottle, Bucky is actually used as the weapon itself in many offenses.  Scotland is pretty “stabby”. 

Now get ready for the best part.  Buckfast is made by monks.  There is a Scottish abbey called Buckfast Abbey nestled into a picturesque little corner of the country.  From there these servants of God lord over this mayhem making enterprise.  I couldn’t find how much loot they were raking in, but it is estimated that 54% of all glass litter in a typical Scottish town are Buckfast bottles.  One report suggested they made 40 million pounds in sales last year.  By the way, I have absolutely no idea what the pound to dollar conversion rate is and I never have.  I just nod my head knowingly when stats are thrown around in pounds.  That could be $461.  I think it’s more though.  40 million pounds seems like a lot of “tonic wine” sold at 7 pounds a bottle.

More than anything I wish someone would walk me through that meeting where they green lit the Easter Egg promo.  I picture a long dark wooden table with thoughtful monks in robes gathered.  Chanting can be heard echoing down a long marble hallway.  “Brother Edgar, so you propose we package our sacred tonic wine with an Easter Egg, condom, and a throwing star?”  Yes brother.  Tis the season.  (The monks all murmur to one another)  “Brother Edgar… Methinks that is too much to give the people at once.  Can we give them God’s love, but in another form?”  Ummm…  How about a pen and a lighter with the Easter egg?  (Excited talking amongst them all)  “It is decided!  Praise God!”

There was some criticism on this package however.  The fact it went to market at all is incredible.  The company isn’t going to pull them either.  They are just going to sell the ones out that are in the market and not print any more.  What are you going to do?  Bring legal action on a bunch of monks?  I have already gone onto Amazon and secured my Buckfast Holiday box.  Please, come on over this Easter.  I will hide the Easter Egg and you can try and find it.  And if you do, I will stab you in the fookin’ neck with me Buckie bottle!  Falbh dairich fhein!


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