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Black Sheep Brewery

Address : Wellgarth
Address : Masham
Town/City : Ripon
County : North Yorkshire
Country : England
Post code : HG4 4EN
Phone : 01765 680100
Web Site :  www.blacksheepbrewery.co.uk

In the early 1990s Paul Theakston, 5th generation of Masham's famous brewing family, saw an opportunity to develop his inherited skills, making real beer in the time-honoured fashion.

It is almost impossible to believe that The Black Sheep Brewery is 20 years old in 2012. Since first making an appearance in pubs in and around the Yorkshire Dales in October 1992, Black Sheep beers have gone from strength to strength and are now distributed not only across the UK but around the world, brewing over 20 million pints a year.

2012 has been a year of celebration not only with the Diamond Jubilee and team GB's success at the Olympics, but also Black Sheep's 20th Anniversary celebrations, with the brewery hosting special events throughout the year and the production of a limited edition anniversary beer called Progress.

The delivery of those first casks of beer in 1992 began a new era for Paul Theakston, whose family has brewed in Masham for six generations. Following Paul's departure from the old family firm, T&R Theakston, fate played a kind hand and he was able to purchase an old maltings building in the heart of Masham. Here was an opportunity to return to what his family had done best since the 19th Century - making real beer in the time-honoured fashion. And so a new brewery was born!

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 Paul's 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 2012, the sixth generation of the Theakston family brewing heritage is also proudly part of Black Sheep, with Paul's eldest son Rob as Managing Director, and second son Jo as Marketing and Off-Trade Sales Director. Paul has now moved to the esteemed role of Chairman.

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, and is now part of the permanent range.

Black Sheep's biggest success of the last year is without a doubt the launch of its first fully fledged seasonal beer range. The first of which being Ruddy Ram, a 4% 'cracking Yorkshire Porter' which was brought out in late 2011.

Ruddy Ram was shortly followed by the brewery's Spring offering, All Creatures, which was launched in February by All Creatures Great and Small actor, Christopher Timothy. Not only was the Yorkshire Pale Ale with a "stubborn hoppy kick" a huge hit with cask ale drinkers, but five pence from every pint was donated to local charity Herriot Hospice Homecare raising £6000 for the local charity.

Progress, Black Sheep's 20th Anniversary ale was released in September 2012 and ran until January 2013. The rich and pure single hopped bitter came in at 4.0% ABV and is already proving popular with consumers.

Black Sheep have also brewed a special edition bottled version of Progress which will only be available from the brewery and online.

The volume has been cranked up to 10%ABV and packaged in a limited edition 750ml swingtop bottle and presentation box.

Progress is the ultimate expression of the brewery's unusual Yorkshire Square fermenting system and with it's classic Black Sheep dry, bitter finish it's the perfect way to say "cheers" and here's to another 20 years!

Black Sheep bottled ales are well established nationally, with their lead beer, Black Sheep Ale, regularly in the top 10 bottled ales. Black Sheep Ale at 4.4% ABV, now in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle and 440ml can, is available nationwide from virtually all the major supermarket retailers alongside the rest of our excellent range.

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 it's well worth the extra!"


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