Black Sheep Brewery

Black Sheep makes the grade at prestigious beer festival


Black Sheep Brewery is celebrating after its flagship strong ale was named among ‘Britain’s Champion Beers’ at the Great British Beer Festival.

Riggwelter, Black Sheep’s famous 5.9% ABV strong, ruby ale, made the final shortlist in the Strong Bitter category at the festival, hosted by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

This latest accolade builds on Black Sheep’s success at last year’s World Beer Awards, with its bottled Riggwelter claiming a Silver Medal in the Strong Dark Beer category.

The Great British Beer Festival (9-13 August), which is held at Olympia, in London, features some of the UK’s leading brewers of real ales, ciders, perries and international beers.

Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have Riggwelter recognised as one of the country’s best strong beers, which is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our brewing team.

“Riggwelter has grown to become one of our flagship ales and to make the final cut is something we are extremely proud of, given the esteemed competition we were up against, which follows on from Riggwelter’s previous award successes.”

Jo added: “Alan Dunn and Phil Douglas who head up our brewing team and their colleagues deserve a special mention and praise as they continue to produce great Yorkshire beers day in, day out. Hopefully their creations will be rewarded with further recognition in the future.”



CONTACT: Jamie Collis on 01325 363436

Editor’s Notes:

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.

In 2014, Black Sheep Best Bitter, - Yorkshire’s best-selling cask ale – underwent a facelift to broaden its appeal among drinkers, evolving the look, while retaining all of the great taste that has made it an iconic brand.

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(L-R): Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, with Rob Theakston, Managing Director
(L-R): Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, with Rob Theakston, Managing Director
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