Theakston’s apprentice cooper brews up interest with wooden “beer gardens”

Theakston’s apprentice cooper Euan Findlay with the garden planters he has made from cast off beer casks

A North Yorkshire apprentice cooper is brewing up plenty of interest with specially made wooden “beer gardens”. 

Euan Findlay, who is indentured into the services of Masham-based T&R Theakston Ltd, is honing his skills by making garden planters from the off-cuts of old casks. 

The tubs that the 20-year-old is producing – and which sell for £30 for one or £50 for two – are aiding him in his four-year journey to become a craft cooper.  

To create each container, Euan uses the tools of his trade, a knife and side axe, to shape the stave heads to fit into existing grooves. This is known as “cutting the heads in”, and, once the staves are in position around the base, they are then held in place by two steel hoops. 

Euan’s mentor Jonathan Manby, T&R Theakston Ltd’s craft brewery cooper, said: “Euan is now more than a year into his apprenticeship, and he’s really proving himself. 

“By making these garden planters, Euan is learning the skills required to make water-tight casks of all sizes, and the ‘cutting in’ of the heads is critical to that process. 

“It’s the first time we have made planters, and they are certainly brewing up a lot of interest with those coming to the visitor centre.  

“Of the 70 made, more than half have been sold. Thanks to Euan, dozens now have their own Theakston ‘beer garden’!”

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