Black Sheep Brewery
Black Sheep expands retail presence with Kith & Kin acquisition
The Black Sheep Brewery plc has expanded its retail estate with the acquisition of popular bar and restaurant Kith & Kin from Arc Inspirations.
In only four months, the Masham-based brewery has increased its retail portfolio to six sites across Yorkshire with the purchase of the Chapel Allerton, Leeds-based establishment.
The existing Kith & Kin workforce will be retained, with all 18 employees transferred to Black Sheep, as part of the deal.
This latest acquisition by Black Sheep builds on the successful purchase of York Brewery and four of its pubs in December 2018.
Andy Slee, Chairman of The Black Sheep Brewery plc, said: “We are delighted with the acquisition of Kith & Kin, which follows the successful purchase of York Brewery late last year. Kith & Kin fits perfectly with our strategy of developing our retail presence in our Yorkshire heartland and is a welcome addition to our growing group of pubs and bars.”
Rob Theakston, Managing Director of The Black Sheep Brewery plc, said: “Kith & Kin is a thriving bar with a solid food trade located in the heart of Yorkshire. Arc Inspirations share our passion for locally sourced produce, which we look forward to building on in the future.
“We are also excited to introduce a wider range of quality cask and craft ales from our award-winning range of brands. Kith & Kin has traded successfully for many years and we are proud and looking forward to welcoming the team into our flock.”
Arc Inspirations is a long-established bar and restaurant operator with several sites across the North of England.
Martin Wolstencroft, Chief Executive of Arc Inspirations, said: “In line with our plan to focus growth on our three core brands – Banyan, The Box and Manahatta – in cities across the North of England, we have taken the strategic decision to sell our Kith & Kin site in Leeds. Our team at this location has been fantastic and we’d like to thank them for their hard work and contribution. Their employment will be preserved as they will move across to Black Sheep Brewery Retail as they take over the site – and we wish them and Black Sheep the very best.”
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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, which was unveiled as the official beer of the Tour de Yorkshire and is the official brewery of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).
In the past 12 months, Black Sheep has won a number of prestigious awards, including:
- The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Independent Beer Awards 2018 – Glug M’Glug – Small Pack Gold Champion in the Porters, Stouts, Old Ales, Strong Milds & Strong Brown Ales category
- The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017
- World Beer Awards – Choc & Orange Stout – Gold Award
- World Beer Awards – Riggwelter – Gold Award
- World Beer Awards – Black Sheep Ale – Silver Award
- World Beer Awards – My Generation – 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 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 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, 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 Tap Room, York
- The Three Legged Mare, York
The addition of York Brewery complements the strong, iconic Black Sheep brand and its existing award-winning beers and brands.
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.
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