CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Otter Brewery supports famous Flaming Tar Barrels

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:30 28 October 2014

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


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


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tue, 16:33

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tue, 15:17

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search