"What I really love about the job is the craftmanship – I’m proud to continue the tradition of the cooper trade"
Pål Engen, Journeyman Cooper, Gjelleråsen
In the summer of 2022, Pål Engen passed his cooper journeyman exam, a significant step in a unique education to which very few people can attest. Pål works at Anora’s Gjelleråsen plant in Norway, the only beverage house that has their own coopers in the Nordics.
A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs and other similar containers from timber staves that are usually heated or steamed to make them pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally make wooden implements, such as rakes and wood blade shovels.
Diving into the wonderful world of the barrel
“I have been in apprenticeship for two and a half years and took the theory exam in January 2022. I had a journeyman's certificate as a cabinetmaker, which is primarily about the look and finish, but here, the focus is on construction, drawing, material knowledge and calculation of volume,” Pål explains.
“In the practical journeyman test, you have 25 hours to make an oval 20-liter oak barrel. Prior to the test, I had constructed a drawing and template for the work. All work is done manually with traditional hand tools.”
“What I really love about the job here at Anora is the craftmanship, the smell of the wood, diving into the wonderful world of the barrel. I’m proud to continue and to maintain the knowledge and tradition of the cooper trade, and to be part of the Anora team with so many competent, inclusive, and creative colleagues.”
"New coopers don’t come often – Pål is securing the future of the trade"
The coopers at Anora play an important role in the process of making our high-quality aquavit. The casks must be top quality to achieve the correct flavour, and some aquavits will spend several years aging in oak barrels.
“New coopers don’t come often, so in many ways Pål is securing the future of the trade. We are extremely happy to have him onboard here at Anora,” says Arne-Jøran Øyen, Head Cooper at Anora.
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