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4th August 2020

York Brewery showcases iconic York imagery in an update to its flagship cask ale brand, Guzzler

Rob Theakston, Managing Director of Black Sheep Brewery

York Brewery has unveiled a new look for its flagship beer, Guzzler, strengthening its pride and association with the historic city of York.

With people returning to pubs following the lifting of pandemic lockdown restrictions, York Brewery have created a new look for the 3.6% ABV Guzzler to attract customers, which features one of York’s most iconic landmarks.

Its pump clip, and subsequently the labels on the 500ml bottles later this year, will display an image of Micklegate Bar, the historic gates to the city of York, alongside patterned textures inspired by the Viking movement, which is synonymous with the history of the city.

A light, session pale ale brewed with vibrant Slovenian Celeia hops and layered with pale malt characters, Guzzler is York Brewery’s most popular cask beer.

Masham-based Black Sheep Brewery acquired York Brewery in December 2018, including its brands and four of its outlets, rescuing the business from administration and saving its famous beers including Guzzler.

Guzzler is currently brewed in Masham while Black Sheep continues its strategy to source suitable premises in York to return production to within the city walls.

Rob Theakston, Managing Director of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We’re keen to build on the legacy of York Brewery and the popularity of Guzzler with a new look that shows off its proud association with our world-famous city!

“Black Sheep is exceptionally proud to be the custodians of York Brewery’s popular range of beers and its reputation for hand crafted ales that are enjoyed both in York and far beyond the city walls.

“We are keen to return the brewing of Guzzler and its sister beers to York when we find a suitable location.  In the meantime, we will continue to share our love of the city through the unique beers and their iconic York-inspired branding.”



For further information contact Jamie Collis 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, 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