Black Sheep Brewery announces major product rebrand as new owners seek 'next chapter'

The new owners of Yorkshire’s Black Sheep Brewery have announced a major product rebrand as the firm looks to begin its “next chapter”.

The Masham-based company is amending the design of its range of beers to give the famous Black Sheep logo greater prominence.

A spokesperson said: “A sleek new design will feature across all Black Sheep Brewery beers, included keg, cask, and bottles, as well as online merchandise. The iconic Black Sheep will take pride of place across all products, with the brand’s brewing credentials and essential use of fresh Dales water in every drop brought to the fore.”

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The new branding will be debuted tomorrow at the Northern Restaurant & Bar industry conference in Manchester. The new range will be rolled out to supermarkets in spring.

Black Sheep beers are undergoing a product rebrandBlack Sheep beers are undergoing a product rebrand
Black Sheep beers are undergoing a product rebrand

Mark Williams, CEO of Keystone Brewing Group which now runs Black Sheep, said: “Black Sheep Brewery was born from 200 years of brewing experience and a family rebellion, founded by Paul Theakston to brew the highest quality beer without ever compromising on quality.

"Thirty-one years later, our ethos and our iconic beers remain the same: we brew to challenge convention, with fresh Dales water in Masham, Yorkshire.”

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The changes follow London-based investment firm Breal Group buying Black Sheep last summer for £5m in a pre-pack administration deal. Pre-packs are a process that effectively allow businesses to continue trading seamlessly as before with the same name but can cause controversy because of its impact on creditors owed money.

The move meant taxpayers and creditors are expected to lose out on around £4m while an associated change in company structure meant around 1,000 shareholders had the value of their shares wiped out. Three of the four pubs Black Sheep ran in Yorkshire also closed their doors.

The move secured the future of the business after Black Sheep made a £1.6m loss in 2022/23 as it struggled with the fallout from the pandemic and rising costs.

It was announced last month that chief executive Charlene Lyons was leaving the business “to pursue other interests” with Mr Williams assuming CEO duties.

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He will be assisted by John Hunt, former MD of Purity Brewing Co, in the newly created position of Group CFO.

Earlier in the same month, it had been announced that Breal Group would be rebranding to Keystone Brewing Group “in a move to solidify the group’s commitment to the future of each brand within its portfolio”.

A £1m investment in Black Sheep Brewery’s Masham site has previously been announced by the new owners.

The investment entails a new tank farm and brewhouse at its Wellgarth site, and the transformation of the capability and capacity at its Fearby road packaging facility.

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Mr Williams said at the time: “The Breal Group’s continued investment will allow us to take this fantastic brand to new heights while ensuring our much-loved beers are available to the whole of the UK.

“We’re incredibly passionate about the brewing industry, which is going through some tough times. However, quality and authenticity will always rise to the top, and that’s why we’re committed to investing in Black Sheep, which is bucking the trend, and has a bright future ahead of it.”

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