Heritage Crafts

Coopering (non-spirits)

The making of wooden casks bound with metal hoops, for beer, cider, and wine, as well as non-functional casks. See the separate entry for coopering (spirits).
Craft category
Historic area of significance
Area practiced currently
England, mainly in Yorkshire
Origin in the UK
1st century AD
Current No. of professionals (Main income)
5 National Cooperage Federation Annual Survey 2021
Current No. of professionals (Side income)
Current No. of trainees
1 Apprentice


Traditionally there were three types of coopering: dry coopering, white coopering, and wet coopering. The first was the least skilled, the last the most skilled. Within wet coopering, a distinction is made between coopering for beer and for spirits. Coopering for beer requires different skills because the casks must withstand the pressure of the fermenting beer.


  • Domestic cooperage – the making of wooden bucket and tubs for the home

Issues affecting the viability

The need for casks is entirely driven by market requirement. At the moment there have been no issued raised regarding material shortages or lack of tutor coopers, however there is uncertainty due to the UK exit of EU in 2021 which may impact the trade.

Support organisations

  • The Worshipful Company of Coopers
  • Incorporation of Coopers of Glasgow
  • The National Cooperage Federation (Trade Organisation of Employers of Coopers and arbiters of the Indentured Apprentice Cooper Programme)

Craftspeople currently known

  • Alistair Simms – Jensen’s Cooperage
  • Jonathan Manby – Jensen’s Cooperage
  • David Paulter – Dylan Scrancher – Samuel Smith Brewery, Tadcaster, Yorkshire.
  • Mark Newton – Marstons Brewery, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
  • Gary Hardy – part-time cooper at Marstons Brewery, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire.(Not recorded in Annual Survey)
  • Euan Findlay completed four-year apprenticeship at Theakstons Cooperage and is now working as a cooper at Theakstons.

Domestic cooperage


National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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