If you never had the opportunity to try the original, fully caffeinated Four Loko you should probably consider yourself lucky. Everyone knows stories of people buying up cases before they were taken off the shelves and reformulated. It seems that a caffeinated tonic wine made by Benedictine Monks at Buckfast Abbey in England is facing similar criticism. Their tonic wine is sweet and flavored like a spiced wine with a punch of caffeine. The drink, also called “Buckie,” has been a huge success and made lots of money for Buckfast Abbey, which has scores of employees and a history of donations to deserving causes. However, the success has brought them into the spotlight since many think that the drink is responsible for drunks that are hopped up on caffeine and committing crimes like drunk driving and assault. At 15% alcohol, Buckfast wine is only slightly stronger than several table wine, but contains the caffeine equivalent of about 3 cups of coffee.
There’s currently a bill circulating that aims to limit the caffeine content of alcoholic drinks and could mean changes for Buckfast and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages if it passes. While some say that Buckfast and other similar products are responsible for alcohol abuse in younger drinkers as well as criminal activity, supporters of Buckfast say that it all comes down to drinking responsibly. In the meantime, Buckfast Abbey is preparing to celebrate the millennial anniversary of the first monastic settlements in the region in 1018 and enjoys success as one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. Whether you enjoy your vodka paired with RedBull or not, governments here and across the pond may be cracking down on caffeinated concoctions like Buckfast wine. While it isn’t currently distributed in the United States, you can order it from a variety of online retailers–or plan a trip the the place where it all started. Whatever you do, drink responsibly!