Black Sheep Brewery

A special name for a special beer as Black Sheep gives old favourite a rebrand


Black Sheep Brewery has given one of Yorkshire’s best loved beers a fresh new look, with a respectful nod to its heritage.

Black Sheep Ale was originally brewed in 1993, when it was simply known as ‘Special’. Now drinkers will see a great new look, and a new name, ‘Special Ale’, on the bars of pubs after a premium rebrand of the hugely popular beer.

Black Sheep Special Ale features the same high quality liquid as its well-loved 500ml bottled offering, which is the number one bottled beer from Yorkshire*. The changes to the name and look of the cask ale reflect the way it is increasingly well-received in pubs up and down the country.

Evolution, rather than revolution, is at the heart of the modern and forward-thinking new design, which aims to recruit new drinkers whilst retaining a loyal army of fans who are already aware of the “special” qualities of the beer.

Black Sheep Special Ale is a 4.4% premium strength cask ale, with a crisp, dry and bittersweet flavour and rich fruit aromas. Produced with Maris Otter malted barley, Challenger and Progress hops, and crystal malt that helps to deliver its rich flavour and darker colouring, Black Sheep Special Ale is a classic among the Brewery’s flock.

Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director, at Black Sheep Brewery said: “Black Sheep Special Ale was first brewed in 1993 to complement our session favourite Best Bitter and, whilst it has never lost its ‘special’ feel and place in our hearts, over the years the word ‘special’ was dropped from the brand. It’s time to bring that back!

“Our recent work to refresh Black Sheep Best Bitter and Golden Sheep have proved really successful and the feedback from drinkers has been very positive. Landlords will love the new clip for Black Sheep Special Ale because it makes a quality statement about a quality beer.

“The restoration of the Black Sheep Special Ale name and the rustic new look follow on from our changes to the Best Bitter and Golden Sheep brand, but they are certainly not the end of our innovation, with more exciting developments in the pipeline - so watch this space.”

*(Source: Neilsen - England/Wales total, PBA value sales, December 2014)


CONTACT: Paul White on 01325 363436


Notes to Editors:

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.

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Jo Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director
Jo Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director
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