Black Sheep Brewery

Black Sheep's UK best-seller keeps true to its name with facelift


One of the UK’s best-selling session cask beers is set to be given a new look, while keeping true to its ‘black sheep’ nature, that will broaden its appeal among drinkers.

Black Sheep Best Bitter will receive a facelift with a striking, new pump clip that will feature in pubs and bars across the UK from September, as Black Sheep continues to champion its ‘engine room of the brewery’ despite the ever-changing cask ale market.

While Black Sheep has diversified its range, including producing craft ales and 54° North, its first-ever lager, it has remained committed to ‘Best Bitter’ as a descriptor of its leading cask beer when other brewers have moved way from using this term.

First brewed in 1992, when Black Sheep was established in Masham, North Yorkshire, Black Sheep Best Bitter has grown to become Yorkshire’s number one selling cask ale in volume terms and is the brewery’s biggest-selling beer.

It is also the official beer of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and fronted the region’s premier professional cycling race, the Tour de Yorkshire, for the first time this year.

At 3.8% ABV, Black Sheep Best Bitter is famously produced from the Yorkshire Square fermenting system using whole flower Fuggles, Progress, Goldings and Challenger hops and pure water from the Yorkshire Dales.

Rob Theakston, Managing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We believe Black Sheep Best Bitter is the definitive beer of its style and this brand refresh will help give our flagship on-trade brand an even bolder and more contemporary presentation as we look to the future. The feedback to the new design has been fantastic and it is another example of how we are innovating and investing behind our portfolio.

“We are excited by Best Bitter’s new look, which showcase’s Yorkshire’s best-selling pint and will continue to offer customers a proper pint of God’s own country.”



CONTACT: Jamie Collis/Stuart Nicholls on 01325 363436

Editors’ Notes:

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, and was unveiled as the official brewery of the 2018 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.

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° 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.

Instagram: @blacksheepbrewery

Twitter: @BlackSheepBeer

back to Black Sheep Brewery


(L-R) Rob Theakston and Jo Theakston
(L-R) Rob Theakston and Jo Theakston
Download Large Image
(L-R) Rob Theakston and Jo Theakston
(L-R) Rob Theakston and Jo Theakston
Download Large Image