UK: J Chandler triggers Buckfast court battle
J Chandler & Co, the distributor of Buckfast tonic wine, is to take two Scottish councils to court over claims that they discriminate against shops selling the drink.
J Chandler, which sells the wine made by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey, said Glasgow and South Ayrshire councils have singled out the product and therefore breached licensing laws.
The fortified wine, which is produced at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, has been highlighted in debates in Scotland on alcohol abuse. It has an alcohol content of 15% and is widely reported to be popular with young drinkers, including those underage, in the west of Scotland.
"In the case of Glasgow District Council and South Ayrshire, there are certain things we're not happy with so we've decided to draw a line under it," Jim Wilson, spokesperson for J Chandler told just-drinks today (10 March).
He added: "We want a public apology and for them to put their hands up and say no more. We want a public apology and an assurance that this will stop. It's got to stop and the politicians haven't helped with their comments and it's not fair."
Wilson said the company will also be writing to two chief constables in the near future with regard to the actions of officers.
"We need the police to do a damn good job but we can't allow these rogue officers to go about targeting our product either, so we've made a stance now and we're going to go for it and enough is enough."
A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said today: "The licensing board has not sought any undertaking or posed any conditions that relate to a specific product. If they want to take legal action it's up to them, but there's nothing that we can see that the board has done that even remotely constitutes a breach in our position."
South Ayrshire Council said that it had "never" targetted any particular brand.
"Young people's tastes change on a monthly and even weekly basis," a spokesperson for the council told just-drinks. "Because of this we have never targeted a specific type of drink but we believe licencees have a responsibility to be more vigilent about what they are selling."
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