Theakston’s unique skills come to fore at Christmas

Theakston's craft cooper Jonathan Manby puts the finishing touches to the last of this year's pins.

Theakston's craft cooper Jonathan Manby puts the finishing touches to the last of this year's pins.

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A North Yorkshire brewery’s cooper has been turning his hand to creating scores of ‘pin’-sized Christmas crackers.

Jonathan Manby, from Masham-based T&R Theakston Ltd, has spent the last month making and shaping traditional wooden casks called “pins”, which will be filled with the family-owned firm’s best-selling Old Peculier ale.

Each pin holds 4.5 gallons or 36 pints, and is made individually by Jonathan – the country’s last brewery employed craft cooper – using the traditional tools of the trade, namely seasoned oak, iron hoops and flames.

T&R Theakston Ltd Executive Director Simon Theakston said: “The art of coopering dates back hundreds of years, and Jonathan is the only remaining brewery employed craft cooper in the UK. Theakston’s have employed coopers ever since the company was founded 186 years ago.”