North Yorkshire brewery turns oak casks into Christmas trees

Coopers at Masham-based brewery T&R Theakston have branched out to craft Christmas trees from discarded oak casks for the festive season.

Craft cooper Jonathan Manby and apprentice cooper Euan Findlay were set a creative, festive challenge by the brewery’s marketing manager Victoria Bramley.

Manby and Findlay crafted the trees in the brewery’s Victorian cooperage and have so far made 12 trees which are now on sale at the Theakson Black Bull in Paradise Gift Shop in Masham for £60.

Marketing managing Bramley, commented: “Two years ago, Jonathan and Euan made a small number of Christmas trees from old beer casks, which I decorated and stood in the entrance to our Black Bull In Paradise visitor centre.”

“This year, I set the pair the task of creating something seasonal that would appeal to beer lovers looking for a unique Christmas gift.”

“I think they have certainly risen to the challenge and these Christmas trees, made from old barrels, are fantastic.”

“And, because they are made from seasoned wood, they can be displayed either inside or outside.”

“We are very proud to have a working Cooperage here at Theakston’s, which is helping to keep this ancient craft alive. When it comes to working with wood, Jonathan and his apprentice, Euan, are incredibly versatile as these trees go to prove.”

“With only a limited number of trees on sale I’m sure these rare specimens will be snapped up very quickly”.

The North Yorkshire brewer recently announced that it is to install a multi-role fermenting, conditioning and storage vessel, produced by Leeds-based PPF Ltd, which will allow it to increase its brewing capacity and to extend its range of cask ales, seasonal beers and craft keg range.

T&R Theakston Executive Director Simon Theakston added: “Thanks to growing demand for our products, both at home and abroad, we are brewing more beer in our brewery in Masham than ever in our 190-year history.”

“The installation of this vessel will give us significant extra overall capacity and also the flexibility to brew an even greater range of both our permanently available and specialist cask and keg brands.”

“Previous investment at our brewery has included renewing chilling equipment, replacing pipework and installing new conditioning tanks and cold filtration units, all done to support the original brewing vessels still in every-day use.”

“The renaissance of cask-conditioned and modern craft ales has given our superb brewing team a golden opportunity to experiment with different hops and malts from the UK and indeed from throughout the world.”

“In turn, this has allowed us to significantly expand our range of beers, and introduce new lines which have quickly established themselves as firm favourites with cask and craft ale aficionados”.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Rioja Estate Ramon Bilbao had partnered with Spanish classical musician Ara Malikian and third-generation violin maker Fernando Solar to craft a violin out of a wine barrel. 

In November, Bodega Numanthia in Toro also got in on the act, collaborating with Spanish fashion house Loewe to produce a bespoke leather barrel filled with 2016 Termanthia, priced at €95,000.

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