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31st March 2021

First cask beer of 2021 from Black Sheep ready for April pub reopening’s

Head Brewer Dan Scott-Paul with some of the first casks ready for pub deliveries

Black Sheep Brewery has started its first deliveries of cask beer since December ahead of the planned reopening of pubs next month.

To ensure the beer is in optimum condition ready for publicans to serve from April 12th, Black Sheep restarted brewing two weeks ago and has been taking orders from its pub and wholesale customers in anticipation of reopening.

Ahead of April 12th, the Masham-based brewery has introduced a re-opening range, which includes Black Sheep Best Bitter and Black Sheep Pale Ale, both available in cask for the first time in 2021.

Black Sheep Best Bitter is also available to pubs in keg format, along with Black Sheep IPA and its Yorkshire-inspired, 54 Lager.

Black Sheep’s distribution team, which have been providing local home deliveries during the lockdowns, are now reloading its fleet of vans with casks and kegs for delivery to pubs in its Yorkshire heartland and across the UK in the next two weeks.

Charlene Lyons, chief executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We have been planning our return to cask brewing from the moment Boris Johnson announced the plan for pubs to reopen and we’re really excited to start deliveries again.

“This is massive for us and signifies, hopefully, the start of a new chapter for Black Sheep and also our pub customers, who are at the heart of our business and we’re doing everything we can to support them.

“We have been brewing for the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so in an effort to support pubs that can open their outside spaces in April and then welcome customers back inside in May.

“Around a third of our pub customers will reopen on 12th April and hopefully another third from May 17th, followed by the remainder, which is very exciting and will help them again take their place in the centre of their communities.

“Cask beer is the core of Black Sheep, so in terms of morale within the business from seeing our brewing team at work, through to the beer being racked in cask and then delivered to pubs, this is a thrilling moment.”


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


For further information contact Jamie Collis 01325 363436