Baa-gum: visitors flock to Black Sheep
Added: Thursday, February 15th 2018
Black Sheep Brewery has unveiled a new look to its award-winning Visitor Centre, following a major refurbishment at the Masham-based brewery. Black Sheep utilised the services of local tradespeople to carry out the work at the Visitor Centre, as well as a number of the brewery’s employees.
The bar area has been updated with a craft keg beer wall and a revamped seating/lounge area, which has created more of a modern pub setting. New furniture, including tables, chairs and sofas, has been fitted to offer a relaxing environment alongside the bistro, with large bottled light boxes comprising of clear Black Sheep bottles, adding to the setting. A lounge area has also been created on the mezzanine, with the bistro and Sheepy Shop revamped, following the investment.
It is estimated that 30,000 people descend on Masham in North Yorkshire each year to visit the Black Sheep Brewery Visitor Centre. In 2016, it was awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned consistently positive reviews on TripAdvisor.
Last year, Black Sheep was named the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017, in its silver anniversary year, in recognition of its commitment to supporting the pub industry.
Jo Theakston, Sales and Marketing Director at Black Sheep Brewery (above), says: “This is a significant investment for Black Sheep that further strengthens our offering at the Visitor Centre, which has grown to become a major attraction in Yorkshire. Flocks of people visit the brewery every year and the refurbishment has given the Visitor Centre a modern facelift, while maintaining our strong values as a traditional, independent brewery, since it was built more than 25 years ago.
“Everyone ranging from local tradespeople and our team has worked extremely hard to revamp the Visitor Centre, as we look to build on the success it has enjoyed over the years. Black Sheep is a major employer in Masham, so we are hoping to attract even more people to the Visitor Centre and make it a much more focal point in the town where guests can enjoy a meal, have a pint with friends or use our space for meetings and social gatherings.”
*The Black Sheep Brewery is one of British brewing’s most famous stories and has grown from humble beginnings to become a multi-award winning company, with its beers enjoyed around the world. In the past 12 months, Black Sheep has won a number of prestigious awards, including:
- The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017
- World Beer Awards – Choc & Orange Stout – Gold Award
- World Beer Awards – Riggwelter – Gold Award
- World Beer Awards – Black Sheep Ale – Silver Award
- World Beer Awards – My Generation – Bronze Award
Based in Masham, in the heart of North Yorkshire, Black Sheep brewed 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 Visitor Centre, at the site of the iconic brewery, has grown to become an award-winning attraction for visitors to Yorkshire, with tens of thousands of people flocking to Masham each year. The Black Sheep 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 business’ maverick attitude to the multi-nationals seeking to dominate the brewing industry and captured the essence of the family struggle that led to its birth.
Black Sheep’s beers are full of character derived from the best possible brewing materials, plenty of time and patience in the brewing and its very special Yorkshire Square fermenters.
Black Sheep Best Bitter is now one of the best-selling cask session beers in the UK and many of its creative brews, over the course of its 25-year history, have collected numerous awards – ranging from Black Sheep’s traditional ales to its up and coming craft beers.
2017 marked the launch of Black Sheep Brewery’s first lager, 54 Degrees North, created in homage to its hometown of Masham, which sits on 54’ 13’ 24” N; 1’ 39’ 20” W longitude and latitude lines, as the company embarks on an adventurous new chapter in its distinguished history.
Black Sheep Brewery, Wellgarth, Masham, North Yorkshire HG4 4EN