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3rd April 2019

Black Sheep to bring back ‘cycling’ favourite in time for Tour de Yorkshire

(l-r): Jo Theakston with Peter Dodd

The Black Sheep Brewery’s best-selling seasonal ale is to make a welcome return to coincide with the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire.

Velo, Black Sheep’s ‘freewheeling’ pale ale, will return to pubs across the UK throughout April and May ahead of the event (2-5 May 2019).

Launched in 2014 ahead of Le Grand Depart, Velo is a 4.2% ABV ale brewed with Cascade hops and a subtle hint of orange and coriander, which produces a flavoursome pint with a refreshing citrus edge.

The Masham-based brewery is the Tour de Yorkshire’s official beer after agreeing a partnership with the event’s organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire, in 2018.

Last year’s race boosted the regional economy by £98m, according to a study by GRASP and Leeds Beckett University. Riders also passed through 170 villages, towns and cities across the county, with more than 2.6m spectator on the roadside and 12.5m TV viewers.

To mark the occasion, Black Sheep will host its 1km ‘Black Sheep Straight’ when the race passes through its hometown of Masham during the men’s event, with a further Black Sheep Straight at West Tanfield, during the women’s race. The first rider to pass through each straight as part of the race will win their ‘height in beer’ with cases of Black Sheep bottled beers.

Black Sheep will also be backing the pub trade with the return of its ‘pub peloton’ – a group of pubs that are located on or near the route, which will receive themed Tour De Yorkshire outlet support by Black Sheep through a series of initiatives to help drive footfall over the course of the event.

Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “Since Le Grand Depart navigated the roads of Yorkshire and passed by our brewery in 2014, the legacy that the Tour created has had a lasting impact on us here at Black Sheep.

“Velo has grown to become one of our most popular brands and its return coincides with this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, offering people the perfect pint to enjoy while basking in the spring sunshine.”

Peter Dodd, Commercial Director at Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted Black Sheep are on board again as the official beer for the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire and that Velo pale ale will soon be back in pubs across the county.

“We always say, the event is so much more than a bike race. As well as showcasing Yorkshire to the world it’s a great opportunity for both communities and businesses to come together to proudly celebrate the county. And what better way to start the party than with some fantastic Yorkshire food and drink of which Velo ale is undoubtedly a first-class example.”

Jo added: “Cycling has benefited the UK significantly in recent years and the region received a massive economic boost in 2018, as a result of the Tour de Yorkshire. We are proud to be associated with the event as its official beer and can’t wait to see what this year’s race brings.”



CONTACT: Stuart Nicholls on 01325 363436

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, which was unveiled as the official beer of the Tour de Yorkshire and is the official brewery of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).

In the past 12 months, Black Sheep has won a number of prestigious awards, including:

  • The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Independent Beer Awards 2018 – Glug M’Glug – Small Pack Gold Champion in the Porters, Stouts, Old Ales, Strong Milds & Strong Brown Ales category
  • The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017
  • World Beer Awards – Choc & Orange Stout – Gold Award
  • World Beer Awards – Riggwelter – Gold Award
  • World Beer Awards – Black Sheep Ale – Silver Award
  • World Beer Awards – My Generation – 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 in to 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, 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 Tap Room, York
  • 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.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.