Black Sheep Brewery

England stars help Black Sheep celebrate Rugby World Cup


Rugby stars joined staff from Black Sheep Brewery and guests from the Yorkshire and North East pub industry to celebrate the Rugby World Cup and a special ale brewed to mark the tournament.

Former England internationals Dean Richards and Dave Walder were on hand for the evening that officially launched Black Sheep’s new seasonal ale, Blind Side.

Guests, including locals and landlords from across the pub trade, relived England’s glorious 2003 World Cup Final victory, as it was played out on screens in Black Sheep’s Visitor Centre in Masham.

Blind Side, which has been created at the North Yorkshire brewery, has been created with an all-English pack of eight hops varieties and will be available in pubs throughout the tournament, in September and October.

The 4.3% ruby cask ale is the latest in a string of hugely popular brand new beers to be developed in the microbrewery plant, which allows for greater experimentation and creativity from the multi-award-winning Black Sheep brewing team.

Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “It’s a once in a generation event having the Rugby World Cup on our shores, and with a number of ex rugby players among the Black Sheep team, we were keen to mark the occasion with a new rugby themed brew.

“It was fantastic that so many guests, including Dean and Dave, joined us for the evening to launch Blind Side and to relive the moment Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal secured the trophy for England in 2003. Blind Side is another fantastic creation from our award-winning brewing team, which we are hugely proud of – it certainly helped to make the event a huge success.”

Speaking about Blind Side and England’s chances in the Rugby World Cup, Dean Richards commented: “Blind Side’s very nice, slightly different to the normal Black Sheep beer, and is a very good pint. For England, if everything falls for them, they can win the World Cup and we wish them all the best.”

Dave Walder added: “I’m very impressed with Blind Side and it’s a great initiative with the Rugby World Cup coming up to launch a beer with a rugby theme.”



CONTACT: Paul White on 01325 363436

Notes to Editors:

Renowned for creating award-winning ales since its formation, Black Sheep Brewery enjoyed 2015 World Beer Awards (WBAs) success with prestigious medals for two of its bottled beers – Black Sheep Ale and Riggwelter, which received Gold and Silver accolades, respectively, despite competition from some of the UK’s leading brewers. The awards, which were presented by an expert panel of judges, including journalists, retailers, buyers, brewers and marketers, in London, follow Black Sheep Brewery’s WBAs success in 2009 when its Yorkshire Square Ale was named World’s Best Premium Bitter.

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, Dean Richards, Dave Walder and Rob Theakston
(L-R): Jo Theakston, Dean Richards, Dave Walder and Rob Theakston
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