The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered 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).


Status Endangered
Craft category Wood
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised England, mainly in Yorkshire
Origin in the UK 1st century AD
Current no. of professionals (main income) 4
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 3
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



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 is more highly skilled because the casks must withstand the pressure of the fermenting beer.




Local forms

  • Dry coopering which does not have to hold fluid
  • White cooperage which in general was done at a village level making household utilities
  • Wet cooperage which has to store fluids in sometimes under pressure and also sometimes for many years




Issues affecting the viability of the craft


Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

  • Alistair Simms – independent cooper at Yorkshire Cooperage Services, Ripon, Yorkshire.
  • Jonathan Manby – Theakstons Brewery, Masham, Yorkshire.
  • David Paulter – 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.

Euan Findley is three years into a four year apprenticeship at Theakstons as of December 2018.


Other information