Otter Brewery supports famous Flaming Tar Barrels

Dave Strawbridge, Patrick McCaig and Mike Down are all involved with the flaming tar barrel event

Dave Strawbridge, Patrick McCaig and Mike Down are all involved with the flaming tar barrel event - Credit: Archant

One of Devon’s leading breweries is supporting this year’s Flaming Tar Barrels event in Ottery St Mary on 5 November.

Every year on Bonfire Night thousands of local townsfolk and visitors flock to Ottery St Mary to watch the spectacular sight of flaming tar barrels being carried through the streets. It is one of the most iconic events in the East Devon calendar and now Otter Brewery is showing their support by becoming the main sponsor. Not only are they sponsoring the event but they have also brewed an official beer for it called Flaming Ale.

The Tar Barrel tradition has been around for hundreds of years, but Ottery is now the only Town in the country where you can watch full sized lighted tar barrels being paraded through the streets. The barrels are coated with old-fashioned coal tar in the months leading up to the event, and then on the night they are lit outside a selection of the pubs located in the town. As the flames begin to pour out of the sides they are lifted up onto the shoulders of local participants, and carried onto the next stop. The final barrel is then carried to the square as the clock strikes midnight. There are different sizes of barrels: small for the “boys”, medium for the women and youths and “gert big unz” for the men. Local townsfolk tend to carry the barrels as for them it is a tradition which has been passed down through their family from generation to generation.

David and Mary Ann McCaig established the Otter Brewery back in 1990 after both having a family history in brewing. They now supply over 500 pubs across the South West with their five main cask ales. The couple focus heavily on producing ethical and environmentally friendly beer, and do so by using water from the head springs of the River Otter and being home to the UK’s first ever underground eco cellar. Patrick McCaig from Otter Brewery commented: “This is an absolutely fantastic visual display that never disappoints! We’ve come on board as a main sponsor and also brewed an official beer for the event – Flaming Ale – that will be available in four pubs, as well as supplying limited edition T-shirts. It’s a privilege to be involved.”

For more information on the event please visit:

To visit the Otter Brewery website click here

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