Black Sheep Brewery, Masham - The story so far
PUBLISHED: 12:37 26 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:28 20 February 2013
It is almost impossible to believe that The Black Sheep Brewery is only 18 years old.
It is almost impossible to believe that The Black Sheep Brewery is only 18 years old. Since first making an appearance in pubs in and around the Yorkshire Dales in October 1992 our beers have gone from strength to strength - most recently with Black Sheep Best Bitter being awarded The Publican Licensees Choice Gold Award for Cask Ale in 2010 for the second year running. Black Sheep beers are now distributed not only across the UK but around the world, brewing over 20 million pints a year.
Sheep have always figured largely in the history of Masham, so when a name was needed for the new Brewery Paul's wife, Sue, came up with Black Sheep. A fitting name on all fronts, given Pauls maverick new start up! From the outset, giving visitors the opportunity to see the beers being brewed and to sample the ales at the brewery was always a high priority, and in May 1996 the doors were opened to the newly transformed Visitor Centre - now a major year-round attraction in the Yorkshire Dales. Now in 2010, the sixth generation of the Theakston family brewing heritage is also proudly part of Black Sheep, with Pauls eldest son Rob as Joint Managing Director, and second son Jo as Marketing and Off-Trade Sales Director.
Over the last few years, Black Sheep has considerably expanded the market for its lead cask ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter, a classic 3.8%ABV Yorkshire bitter brewed using Yorkshire Square fermenting vessels, and it is now widely available across the UK. In 2009, they launched a fully illuminated Dazzler handpump for Black Sheep Best Bitter - the first of its kind to the market - giving cask ale the presence on the bar that it richly deserves! In 2010 a revised version of Golden Sheep on draught was launched - a gloriously refreshing blonde beer that has seen great success over the summer period.
As Paul Theakston says, We are rightly proud of our award-winning range of bottled and cask ales and only brew our beers from traditional high-quality raw materials: crystal clear dales water from our own well, Maris Otter malted barley for extra flavour, a little roasted malt for colour and flavour, and generous amounts of whole English hops to make the beer really refreshing. Such a material bill is more expensive than the average, but we think its well worth the extra!