Black Sheep Brewery has restarted production of cask beer in Masham, in anticipation of the proposed opening of pubs in July following a near three-month closure as a result of Covid-19.
The brewery has restarted its cask ale production with 100 barrels of its iconic Yorkshire bitter, Black Sheep Best Bitter, one of the UK’s bestselling cask session beers, which will be ready in time for the long-awaited reopening of pubs.
The beer, which takes approximately ten days to brew, will be the first of many casks being produced at the brewery as it looks to support the reopening of many food and drink establishments across the country.
While pubs have been closed and cask brewing operations paused, Black Sheep has focused its activity on supporting the local community with beer and food deliveries along with online sales, which have seen a 2000 percent increase since 21st March, compared to the same time last year.
Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, the Black Sheep Brewery Visitor Centre Shop has also reopened its doors on 8th June. Customers can now visit the shop for takeout beer, Black Sheep merchandise and accessories from 12pm between Wednesday and Sunday each week.
Charlene Lyons, Chief Executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “The reopening of pubs has been much anticipated for both the public and businesses. With the estimated date not too far in the future, I’m pleased to say that we are back in production, starting with one of our most loved beers.
“Following strict social distancing and hygiene measures, the team are back on the floor and the first cask has been fired up, and we’re gearing up stocks to serve pubs across Yorkshire and further afield.”
For further information contact Jamie Collis 01325 363436
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.