Black Sheep Brewery
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Black Sheep was born from the pioneering spirit of Paul Theakston who, in 1992, followed his heart and dared to start a new brewery. Set in the market town of Masham, in North Yorkshire, Black Sheep produces much loved cask, keg and bottled beers and continues to go against the grain with a flow of new and experimental brews. Each beer is the culmination of brewing expertise spanning six family generations.
Today, Paul's sons Rob and Jo Theakston continue that spirit as Black Sheep stands tall amongst UK breweries, built on a solid reputation for creating beer of outstanding quality full of passion and integrity. The 'Shepherded' brewery tours take around an hour and involve a fascinating trip around the brewhouse and fermenting room. Visitors will experience the Black Sheep brewing process including the aromas of English hops and malted barley, then through the scientific process and finally on to the end product - a glass of award-winning ales.
Paul Theakston, founder and Black Sheep, was born into a brewing dynasty. Paul's family and the T & R Theakston firm had been brewing in Masham for five generations before it was finally taken over by Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. The 'old' family firm had been subject to a series of acrimonious battles which lead to the takeover in the late eighties, and although Paul was offered a role in the 'big' company his heart was always in Masham. So in a brave move, and with a growing family to support, Paul made the decision to leave and follow his heart. Some soul searching soon followed but soon the idea was born, to start afresh. So in an era of bland mass produced beer in 1992, Masham gained a pioneering new brewery, built on traditional values and rescued equipment but designed to brew beer with real flavour.
Major features of today's Black Sheep Brewery tour are in fact the salvaged wares from other now defunct breweries. The brewing copper, mash tun, hop-back, and the Yorkshire Stone Square fermenting vessels were refugees from other breweries; three of the fermenting vessels were literally snatched from under the ball of a demolition contractor. Black Sheep wasn't just designing a new brewery, but bringing in subtle touches that championed the UK's proud brewing heritage.
There is also a split-level Bistro and Bar which serves locally sourced food and a shop. Group visits are welcome, although pre-booking is essential. Opening times vary, due to private functions, so please call in advance to confirm