Theakston's advertises apprenticeship for rare brewing job

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Jonathan Manby is believed to be the country’s last remaining brewery-employed craft cooper
Jonathan Manby is believed to be the country’s last remaining brewery-employed craft cooper

Related tags Skill Brewing Beer

A North Yorkshire brewer is advertising a position for one of the rarest and highly-skilled jobs in brewing.

Masham-based T&R Theakston, which still makes traditional oak casks to store and transport its ales, is looking to recruit an apprentice cooper to learn the trade of cask making.

The new recruit, who Theakston’s claimed would be the only apprentice brewery cooper in the country, will undergo a three-to-four-year training period to produce, remake and repair the family-owned brewery’s wooden casks.

The trainee will learn the craft from Jonathan Manby – who joined Theakston’s as an apprentice himself in 1995 – and is believed to be the country’s last remaining brewery-employed craft cooper.

Visitor centre

Manby, who makes hundreds of oak casks each year, demonstrates his skills in the brewery’s cooperage – which is one of the highlights of Theakston’s visitor centre tour – and at fairs, festivals and shows across the country.

Theakston’s said it was proud to be one of the last breweries in the country to supply its ale in wooden casks and in doing so, preserving an ancient and skilled art.

T&R Theakston executive director Simon Theakston said: “Tradition is respected not only in the brewing industry but in thousands of pubs throughout the country.

“We know consumers strongly approve of the idea of beer served from wood and we plan to continue that tradition.”

Eye for detail

According to Theakston, applicants will require a keen eye and aptitude for detail to joint, raise and bend staves, to size casks and finish to a high standard. In addition, they will be trained in all areas of cellar work and beer dispense.

He explained: “We have been using wooden casks since the company was founded by my great, great grandfather 187 years ago.

“The growing popularity of our cask ales means that Jonathan now requires another pair of hands to help him in his important job. However, coopering is a skill that cannot be learned overnight, and the training period can take up to four years.

Theakston added: “It is hard work, but the lucky applicant will know they are in a unique position – that of being the country’s only brewery-employed apprentice craft cooper.”

The starting date is October and interested parties should apply in writing to Jonathan Manby at the brewery. Closing date for applications is 25 July.

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