Masham barrel maker is rolled around Theakston brewery in centuries-old ceremony as he becomes a Cooper

It is a once in a generation event to mark one of the oldest traditional jobs in Yorkshire.

And a historic “trussing in” ceremony took place yesterday to mark the progress of an apprentice barrel-maker as he became a Journeyman Cooper.

Euan Findlay, from Bedale, began his apprenticeship at Theakston five years ago, and the ceremony was delayed a year due to the pandemic.

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But it was well worth the wait for 25-year-old Mr Findlay’s family and friends who watched as he was ceremoniously inserted into a specially constructed 54-gallon cask, known as the Hogshead.

Mr Findlay was rolled around the brewery yard in Masham before being unceremoniously sacked as an apprentice and immediately re-employed as a fully-qualified Cooper. Photo: James Hardisty

Mr Findlay was then rolled around the brewery yard in Masham before being unceremoniously sacked as an apprentice and immediately re-employed as a fully-qualified Cooper.

It is the first such ceremony - which dates back to the 14th century - to be held at the brewery in 20 years.

Theakston is one of only two breweries in the UK to still have an in-house cooperage, a tradition which it has maintained since it was established almost 200 years ago, and members of the Federation of Coopers journeyed from around the country to watch the historic ceremony.

Simon Theakston, joint MD, said: “While Coopering is no longer practiced in many breweries across the country, we have always maintained the tradition and we’re also now seeing a renewed interest in the craft as many traditional and new brewers are seeking to explore more cask conditioned beers.”