Flaming Ale for 2018 Ottery Tar Barrels

The Brewery is proud to once again be a main sponsor of Ottery’s Tar Barrels as the town gets ready to put on another huge visual spectacle.

Every year on November 5th the world famous ‘Flaming Tar Barrels’ are carried through the streets of Ottery St Mary to the delight of thousands of townsfolk and visitors. Much of the behind-the-scenes work in organising everything is overseen by Mike and Jacqui Down, Landlords of The Volunteer Inn and two of the town’s ‘rolling’ veterans.

This year’s event has been the most challenging yet to organise. To cover all the necessary insurance, security, toilet hire and car park lighting, a minimum of £30,000 has to be raised. This is done entirely by the local community throughout the year via communal activities and individual endeavours. Several new developments for 2018 will see the addition of two official outside bars – one at the main bonfire site and one at the Catholic Church – to streamline how refreshments are sold. A reusable cup is also being introduced for the first time to help reduce waste and make the event safer.

Mike explains: “Even though the Tar Barrels has become its own entity and draws in thousands of visitors, every year the paperwork increases and it becomes more difficult to pull off. The town has really gone above and beyond again to help with the fundraising – from sponsored bike rides and long-distance runs to special themed nights in the various pubs. With our position on the committee, Jacqui and I try to help the event move with the times. This year we’ve introduced reusable plastic glasses which will massively reduce litter, reduce trip hazards and save money. Crowd safety is paramount. We also want to safeguard this event for future generations – we both ‘barrel roll’ as do our two sons. The new outside bars that are being run under the umbrella of Ottery Carnival will really help the money generated on the night to stay in the town and then help with the following year.”

This tradition is hundreds of years old and the village of Ottery St Mary is right on our doorstep. As part of our work to help support the local community and its pubs we’re proud to be on board once again this year – we think events like this should be preserved. We’ve also brewed an official beer for the event – Flaming Ale – that will be available in local pubs.