Black Sheep was established in 1992 by Paul Theakston. Having spent his entire working life pursuing a career in brewing at T&R Theakstons, Paul left his family company in 1990 following its sale to a national brewer, Paul made the decision to start his own independent brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire.
He acquired the site of a former maltings on the edge of the market town and built a brewery from reclaimed equipment from fellow brewers. His goal was simple, to brew independent, Yorkshire beer with real flavour and passion.
The brewery was funded by a large number of shareholders who believed in Paul’s ethos. With their support, Paul built Black Sheep into a brewing legacy that put quality beer at the top of the agenda.
The name Black Sheep was suggested by Paul’s wife, Sue and perfectly reflects the story of how the brewery was established – Paul is the Black Sheep of the Theakston family.
26 years ago, Black Sheep had just one beer, Black Sheep Best Bitter. This beer has grown into one of the most well known in the country and to this day remains our flagship ale. Since the first brew however, the brewery has developed an eclectic range of beers to meet the modern day needs of the beer drinking community.
We now produce beer across a number of formats and styles, embracing traditional methods of brewing as well as innovating new wave ales to offer a balance between old and new. Examples of this include our core range of cask and bottled ales such as the likes of Best Bitter, Special Ale and Riggwelter. This, balanced with our range of modern, innovative brands such as 54° North, Pathmaker and our very own 5 Barrel Project beers, offers a range to appeal to broad range of drinkers.
Our brands are available in cask, keg, bottle, can and mini-keg allowing drinkers to enjoy our products at the pub or in the comfort of their own home. We distribute on both a national and international basis, so you can find our beers as close as Reeth in North Yorkshire, and as far afield as Seoul, South Korea.
Black Sheep Brewery: The Story So Far...
With our roots firmly in Yorkshire, we continue to support and champion local pubs and businesses. We are proud of where we are from and the beautiful area that we are lucky to call our home has inspired many of our beers and our values. We are proud to sponsor Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Tour de Yorkshire 2018 and the Great Yorkshire Show. We employ c. 100 members of staff, many of whom grew up in the surrounding towns and villages.
Our brewery also houses a newly refurbished Visitor Centre which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. Tourists and locals alike are invited to come to the brewery to experience our famous tours or enjoy drinks or food in our bar and bistro. We also have an onsite shop which offers a range of merchandise and beer to take home after your visit.