Black Sheep Brewery

Velo takes the Yellow Jersey at the Tour De France finish line


As the riders pedalled for the finish line at the Tour de France, Black Sheep Brewery beat the clock on its own very special challenge – to get the first bottles of its newest beer to the Champs Elysees in time for the race finale.

Black Sheep decided to make Velo – French for bicycle – a permanent bottled beer following public demand on the day that the race’s competitors passed by the brewery during Le Grand Depart on July 5.

And in true race spirit, the challenge was set to complete the process in time to get bottles to Paris for when the riders crossed the finish line – only three weeks later. The brewing, label design and printing, bottling and label application was completed in record time – faster than the riders’ own journey from Yorkshire to Paris.

Velo has already sold double the amount of Black Sheep’s previous best selling seasonal ale, being stocked in pubs up and down the country, as well as on special bars in Masham for Le Grand Depart.

The beer is a 4.2% ABV ‘freewheeling’ fresh pale ale brewed with cascade hops and a subtle hint of orange and coriander, developed and tested in Black Sheep’s microbrewery, then scaled up in the brewery’s full plant, initially to be sold only in casks.

Jo Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director, said: “Our bottled version of Velo is officially faster than the riders on the Tour de France, as we made the decision after they had passed the brewery on July 5th and delivered the first bottles to the Champs Elysees before they crossed the finish line. It was a fitting challenge to set ourselves, as Velo is inspired by the sport of cycling and by the arrival of the race in Yorkshire.

“The Tour de France has been fantastic for the area and its spirit will live on in Velo as a permanent bottled beer in our collection.”



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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left to right: Black Sheep’s Steve Raper, Giles Christie and Mike Hilyer at the Champs Elysees with one of the first bottles of Velo
left to right: Black Sheep’s Steve Raper, Giles Christie and Mike Hilyer at the Champs Elysees with one of the first bottles of Velo
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