Buckfast is going upmarket – after the monks who brew it splashed £3million on a 33-bedroom hotel and conference centre.
The Abbey where the wine is brewed want to attract high-end corporate guests – in marked contrast to many of their wine’s Scottish customers.
More than half of all Buckfast sold is consumed in Scotland, where critics blame the high-alcohol, high-caffeine drink for violent crime and vandalism.
Now some of the profits from the drink have been ploughed into updating the hotel at the Buckfastleigh Abbey in Devon.
Nigel Evans, accommodation manager at the abbey, said: “We have invested £3 million into a 33-bedroom hotel and conference facility.
“Nowadays, people’s demands are high and we are moving with the times to provide state-of-the-art facilities for visitors and for businesses.”
And Mr Evans told a business conference in Cornwall: “Like everywhere else, retail has been struggling a bit but we have a great hotel and conference offer.
“The abbey has to be self-sufficient so we’re just evolving with the times.”
The abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks and offers a place of retreat for the faithful.
It has produced the wine to a French recipe since the late 19th century.
The monastic order can host conferences for up to 200 people and employs about 100 staff in its growing hospitality and conference branch.
In 2013, following a decision by Police Scotland to attach anti-crime labels to Buckfast bottles in some areas, the wine’s distributor J Chandler and Co threatened to take legal action against the force.
Police Scotland later dropped the plans.