THE most traditional of crafts has achieved a new first – a female apprentice taking up the coppersmith’s hammer.

Rebecca Weir, 18, from Alloa has been recruited by Diageo Abercrombie as a first year Modern Apprentice and is believed to be the first female recruit into the coppersmith trade in Scotland.

She is part of the latest apprentice intake at Diageo Abercrombie alongside 16-year-old Calum McTaggart from the island of Islay, and Steven Key who, at 34, is a mature recruit. For centuries coppersmiths have used the same methods to make the stills at the heart of whisky distillation.

The apprentices will learn how to hand-beat copper sheets and weld them into whisky stills, as well as being trained in state-of-the-art computer aided design techniques, mastering a blend of strength, skill and patience.

Rebecca said: “It’s really exciting to be part of something which is so important to the whisky industry.”