Black Sheep Brewery has embarked on an ‘adventurous’ new chapter in its rich history with the launch of 54 Degrees North – its first ever lager.
54 Degrees North has been created in homage to Black Sheep’s hometown of Masham, North Yorkshire, which sits on 54’ 13’ 24” N; 1’ 39’ 20” W longitude and latitude lines.
A premium small batch craft lager, 54 Degrees North has been officially endorsed by leading British mountaineer and explorer, Alan Hinkes OBE, who is the only Briton to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000m peaks.
At 4.5% ABV, 54 Degrees North is brewed using German Pilsner Malt together with Magnum and Polaris hops, as well as the classic German aroma hop, Tettnang. Devised by Black Sheep’s creative brewing team, it also uses the brewery’s own yeast strain and pure water from the Yorkshire Dales.
54 Degrees North is top fermented using Black Sheep’s famous Yorkshire Square fermenters in Masham, then lagered for a month to intensify the crisp, clean finish.
Black Sheep has launched 54 Degrees North as the premium lager choice for adventurous beer drinkers as well as appealing to cask ale drinkers, with 56% of cask drinkers reported to have drunk a lager in the past three months, according to the latest Cask Report.
It will be available to pubs from July 12 in 30L keg format, supported by 54 Degrees North branded glassware, dripmats, keg lenses and PVC bar runners. The launch coincides with Black Sheep Brewery’s silver anniversary year celebrations.
Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “This is a ground-breaking occasion for Black Sheep as we look to the future by delivering an adventurous, refreshing premium lager to UK beer drinkers. 54 Degrees North is the first Black Sheep lager to be launched in our 25 year history and is another cause for celebration in our anniversary year. 54 Degrees North exemplifies the Black Sheep story and adventure perfectly, and crucially pays tribute to our hometown that has been the source of all of our independent brewing history.”
Jo added: “We are introducing pioneering beer to the market that brings our brewing expertise and heritage together, which we believe can become the premium lager choice for fans of Black Sheep and drinkers curious to try something new from us. We are excited by 54 Degrees North’s potential.
“It was only fitting to call on one of the UK’s leading adventurers to help us launch 54 Degrees North, and we are grateful to Alan for his support in this defining moment for the brewery.”
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The Black Sheep Brewery in Masham made 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 Black Sheep Brewery 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 maverick attitude to the multi-nationals seeking to dominate the brewing industry and captured the essence of the family struggle that led to our birth.
Black Sheep Ale at 4.4% ABV, now in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle, continues to maintain its presence among the top ten premium bottled ale brands, and is available nationwide from virtually all the major supermarket retailers. It is a classic premium bitter and as with all Black Sheep beers, full of character derived from the best possible brewing materials, plenty of time and patience in the brewing and our very special Yorkshire Square fermenters.
In 2014, Black Sheep Best Bitter, – Yorkshire’s best-selling cask ale – underwent a facelift to broaden its appeal among drinkers, evolving the look, while retaining all of the great taste that has made it an iconic brand.