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22nd December 2020


Black Sheep Brewery CEO Charlene Lyons

Black Sheep Brewery is encouraging the public to make pubs the heart of their communities in 2021 when Covid restrictions are lifted.

In a message to customers and fans of the North Yorkshire brewery, Chief Executive Charlene Lyons believes that the vaccine breakthrough will help unlock areas of society that the nation has missed, most notably the opportunity to socialise with friends and family.

Charlene says that for generations pubs have been the hub for community activity and in a post-Covid era, they can again take their place as a key meeting place where people can get back to enjoying spending time together.

It will also be a huge boost to pubs and restaurants that, despite considerable and successful efforts to make their venues Covid-secure, have been disproportionality impacted by lockdown and tier restrictions from the government.

Black Sheep Brewery has also had to deal with the consequences of the pandemic restrictions as it was unable to supply a large proportion of its pub trade customers for much of the year.

It quickly adapted to ensure it could keep its customers supplied with their favourite Black Sheep beers with online sales increasing by 1500 percent and a door-to-door delivery service proving exceptionally popular across areas of Yorkshire and the North East.

Charlene Lyons, Chief Executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We all love to head to the pub, not just for the beer and food, but for the social experience that we have all so desperately missed this year.

“The development of vaccines will not only help save lives; we also hope they will be key to unlocking so many other parts of our society that we have previously taken for granted. As we step out of the shadow of Covid in 2021, it will be the perfect opportunity to, once again, place the pub at the centre of our communities.

“We have all found that being separated from friends and family, or even just socially distanced from them, has made us realise what we have missed in the past year.  As a society we have created communities throughout history, and across the generations they have centred around a location that can bring people together, which has often been the pub.

“Our nation’s pubs have faced a real battle to survive this year, but with the public’s support, they can reclaim their place at the heart of the country, and we can rediscover the joys of socialising with our nearest and dearest.”



Editors’ Notes:

The Black Sheep Brewery is one of British brewing’s most famous stories and has grown from humble beginnings to become a multi-award-winning company, with its beers enjoyed around the world.

Black Sheep has grown to become one of Yorkshire’s most recognised brands, with its beer distributed both nationally and internationally. Black Sheep continues to champion the county of Yorkshire and is the official brewer of the annual Tour de Yorkshire.

Black Sheep is a multi-award-winning brewer, having enjoyed numerous accolades in recent years including:

  • The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017
  • International Brewing Awards – Milk Stout – Overall Champion (International Dark Beer)
  • World Beer Awards 2019 – Milk Stout – UK Winner
  • World Beer Awards 2019 – Pathmaker – Gold Award
  • World Beer Awards 2019 – Black Sheep Ale – Silver Award
  • World Beer Awards 2019 – Guzzler– Bronze Award
  • World Beer Awards 2019 – Pineapple Milkshake IPA- Bronze Award

Based in Masham, in the heart of North Yorkshire, Black Sheep brewed its first beer in 1992 after being built up by Paul Theakston, whose family had brewed in the area for six generations.

In a world of ever-increasing bland, mass-produced beer, Paul saw an opportunity to return to what his family had done best since 1827, making real beer in the time-honoured fashion.

An old maltings building, once part of Lightfoot’s Brewery, became the Brewery’s home. This landmark building, which stands high over the banks of the Ure, had fallen into disrepair as years of neglect as a semi-redundant grainstore had taken its toll. Paul assembled a small team around him to fight the rats and build a traditional country brewery.

The Visitor Centre, at the site of the iconic brewery, has grown to become an award-winning attraction for visitors to Yorkshire, with tens of thousands of people flocking to Masham each year. In 2018, the Visitor Centre had a thorough refurbishment and offers the general public a menu of locally sourced Yorkshire food, its range of award-winning beers and tours of their iconic brewery.

In 2018, Black Sheep announced the purchase of York Brewery, which included the acquisition of four pubs in the business and key cask brands, including Guzzler and Yorkshire Terrier.

The outlets bought by Black Sheep, as part of the deal, are as follows:

  • Last Drop Inn, York
  • Mr Foley’s Tap House, Leeds
  • The Three Legged Mare, York

The addition of York Brewery complements the strong, iconic Black Sheep brand and its existing award-winning beers and brands.

In 2018, Black Sheep also purchased the Chapel Allerton based bar, ‘Kith and Kin’ which they have since refurbished and renamed the ‘Black Sheep Tap & Kitchen’, which was officially launched on 28th February 2019.

The Black Sheep name derived from Masham’s association with sheep, but ‘Sheep Brewery’ didn’t quite sound right, so with a little creativity from Paul’s wife, the Black Sheep Brewery was born – a name that sat well with the area, spoke volumes about the business’ maverick attitude to the multi-nationals seeking to dominate the brewing industry and captured the essence of the family struggle that led to its birth.

Black Sheep’s beers are full of character derived from the best possible brewing materials, plenty of time and patience in the brewing and its very special Yorkshire Square fermenters.

Black Sheep Best Bitter is now one of the best-selling cask session beers in the UK and many of its creative brews, over the course of its 25-year history, have collected numerous awards – ranging from Black Sheep’s traditional ales to its up and coming craft beers.

2017 marked the launch of Black Sheep Brewery’s first lager, 54 Degrees North, created in homage to its hometown of Masham, which sits on 54’ 13’ 24” N; 1’ 39’ 20” W longitude and latitude lines, as the company embarks on an adventurous new chapter in its distinguished history.

In 2019, the brewery diversified their offering and entered the world of spirits by producing their own Black Sheep Yorkshire Dry Gin. The gin is distilled in Masham and within the production it features classic brewing ingredients including malted barley and Lemondrop hops.


Instagram: @blacksheepbrewery

Twitter: @BlackSheepBeer

Press release from Recognition PR on behalf of Black Sheep Brewery

For further information contact Jamie Collis 01325 363436 /