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16th February 2021

Black Sheep launches its iconic Best Bitter in bottles for the very first time

Black Sheep Brewery is continuing its innovation and product development this February with the launch of its iconic Black Sheep Best Bitter in bottle for the very first time as a limited edition offering for its drinkers.

While fans of this stalwart of the Black Sheep range wait patiently for the reopening of pubs, the Masham-based brewery has launched a 5,000-bottle run of its Best Bitter, which is available exclusively from its online store and its local ‘Brew to Ewe’ delivery service.

First brewed in 1992, Black Sheep Best Bitter has become one of the UK’s best-selling session cask ales.  However, this is the first time in almost 30 years that the 3.8% ABV beer will be available in a bottle.

With its distinctive Yorkshire character, Black Sheep Best Bitter is brewed with Challenger, Goldings and Fuggle whole flower English hops, which blend with Maris Otter malt to create its very popular flavour profile.

Throughout the past year Black Sheep Brewery has continued to evolve its range and services to ensure loyal and new customers can enjoy their favourite beers while pubs and restaurants have been shut or only able to offer limited services during the pandemic.

It has expanded its range of bottle, canned and mini-keg beers as part of its growing e-commerce activity and successful local delivery service, both of which have become essential ways for customers to safely purchase their taste of Yorkshire.

Charlene Lyons, chief executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We hope the reopening of pubs is on the near horizon, but in the meantime, we know that the taste of Black Sheep Best Bitter is being missed by many people. So, while they can’t enjoy a hand-pulled pint at the moment, they can pour themselves a bottle of our iconic Black Sheep Best Bitter from the comfort of their own home.”

“This is another example of how we are constantly evolving our business to respond to the challenges of the last month, by being able to produce the beers that our customers love and deliver them to homes around the country.”


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
  • Tap and Kitchen, Leeds

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 /