The Black Sheep Brewery has been purchased by an investment firm, saving the future of the brand and protecting around 140 jobs.

The buy-out by the Breal Group follows weeks of negotiation between the two parties after the Masham-based Brewery announced a ‘strategic review’ of its operations in April.

The strategic review follows tough times for the brewing industry, fuelled by the pandemic-related lockdowns, which in turn caused a cost-of-living crisis, hitting brewers extra hard, as the cost of fuel and other ingredients rocketed.

The independent brewer cited the “after-effects of Covid-19” on pubs and its impacts on consumer spending in its announcement.

Black Sheep CEO Charlene Lyons confident over brewery's future

The Black Sheep Brewery is famous for beers such as Riggwelter and Black Sheep Ale and has also started making cider.

The company, founded in 1992, operates the Last Drop Inn and the Three Legged Mare in York, has traded as normal since then, despite the uncertainty.

The Northern Echo, sister title to the York Press, had reported a ‘surge of interest’ in the brewer with ‘six or seven separate conversations’ going on.

However, the Breal Group had long been seen as favourite future owner.

Breal Capital cited as being in running to buy Black Sheep Brewery

A spokesperson for the new Black Sheep Brewing Company said: “We are pleased to announce that Black Sheep Brewery has been acquired by the Breal Group and has become Black Sheep Brewing Company Limited, trading as Black Sheep Brewery.

“This marks the next chapter in the history of Black Sheep as we look to grow the business in a sustainable way.  

“Our team will continue to produce great beers from our landmark brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire and we look forward to welcoming bank holiday customers and tourists to all our retail sites this weekend.

“Breal has a proven track record of successfully transforming and growing the businesses it acquires through the private capital, operational resources, and strategic expertise it brings and we look forward to working closely with the team.”

Masham-based Black Sheep brewery to go into administration

A spokesman added CEO Charlene Lyons remains CEO, and it is very much business as usual.

The Black Sheep Brewery was created by Paul Theakston after his family business T&R Theakston was bought out by a larger brewer. Theakston Brewery later returned to family control following a buy-back from Simon Theakston and his brothers in 2003.

The name stemmed from Paul calling himself the Black Sheep of the family, which saw him leave the family business and create his own brewery in Masham, the same town where Theakston's have brewed for 200 years.

In December 2018, the Black Sheep Brewery announced the purchase of York Brewery, saving 40 jobs, including those at its several city pubs, that were transferred to the business.