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Theakston’s coopers branch out to create Christmas trees from oak beer casks

Coopers at T&R Theakston Ltd’s brewery have been branching out this December by creating Christmas trees from old oak beer casks.

Jonathan Manby, together with his apprentice Euan Findlay, have made a number of wooden trees from oak staves reclaimed from Theakston’s Old Peculier casks, which are now adorning the entrance to the company’s Theakston’s Black Bull In Paradise visitor centre in Masham.

At this time of year, Jonathan, the country’s last remaining brewery craft cooper, makes scores of wooden “pins” using the traditional tools of the trade, namely seasoned oak, iron hoops and flames.

Each pin holds 4.5 gallons, or 36 pints, and are perfect for Old Peculiar fans who like nothing more than drinking the real thing at home.

Now, thanks to the assistance of Euan, the country’s only brewery apprentice craft cooper, the work was finished ahead of schedule, allowing the pair to turn their hand to something festive.

For their cask-conditioned trees, the two have used “bung staves” cut to different lengths, slipped over a wooden pole attached to a wooden base.

T&R Theakston Ltd Executive Director Simon Theakston said: “These trees make a wonderful festive addition to the entrance to our visitor centre, and they are certainly a talking point.

“In addition to making good use of old casks, they demonstrate the creativity and talent of Jonathan and now Euan.

“We have been asked on numerous occasions if the trees are for sale and if we will be taking orders for them next year! This is something we will certainly be looking into!

“For real ale lovers there can be nothing better than singing carols around a Christmas tree made from Theakston’s Old Peculier casks, whilst drinking a pint of Old Peculier itself. And, on that note, we wish all our customers a very merry Christmas indeed.”

Theakston’s Coopers Jonathan Manby (right) and his apprentice, Euan Findlay with their cask-conditioned Christmas trees

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