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Currently viable crafts


Coopering (spirits)


The making of wooden casks bound with metal hoops, specifically for spirits. See the separate entry for coopering (beer).


Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance Scotland
Area currently practised Scotland & Northern Ireland
Origin in the UK






Local forms




Issues affecting the viability of the craft

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 UK exit of EU in 2021 which may impact the trade.

Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

The National Cooperage Federation carry out an annual survey of coopers and have confirmed that, in 2021, there were 284 coopers making spirit casks in 16 UK companies.

This is a significant increase on figures from 2019 and there has also been an increase in trainees to replace older coopers who are coming up to retirement.


Other information

The National Cooperage Federation are the arbiters of the Indentured Apprenticed Programme in cooperage. This is a thriving programme with a consistent flow of new entrants into the trade.