Yorkshire Cooperage

It’s all kicking off on Yorkshire right now. Well, not literally, I mean more from a beer/gin/whisky point of view.

As well as the many, many (successful) craft breweries opening, there’s also a swathe of gin and whisky distilleries too, Cooper King and Spirit of Yorkshire to name just two.

Benefitting from this, and utilising his many years’ experience, is Alasdair Simms, of White Rose Cooperage.

A brief visit to Alasdair on a cold and grey January morning left me full of enthusiasm for the ‘craft’ element of the drinks industry. He really is a master craftsman – I wish I had taken more pictures of his workshop to demonstrate how traditional and low-tech it is.

Importantly, Alasdair’s knowledge and passion shone through the January gloom and talking with him, he leaves an impression of someone who really understands his craft. This isn’t about mad production lines and plenty of ‘plc’-style terms I could list. It’s about producing the best product, and that he knows it’s the best product too.

IMG_1762

Ex-bourbon barrels recently re-charred.

Just whilst I was with him, he was inspecting a cask part way through it’s charring process and noticed a crack in one of the staves. “This won’t do” was the immediate response. It happens from time to time as wood expands and contracts, and for Alasdair it was an imperfection in the wood. There was no “this will do” at all.

The quality of workmanship is as evident as his depth of knowledge and it was great to hear his thoughts, opinions and experiences from the cooperage side of the trade.

As the global demand for spirits rises, as will the demands for what is surely a rare trade these days; hand made wooden casks.

 

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