BLACK SHEEP BREWERY is planning further expansion after seeing turnover rise by almost £1m in the last year.

The Masham-based brewery has enjoyed two consecutive years of profits, which were down just £6,000 on last year’s £260,000.

In the past year the plc delivered increased turnover of £19.3m, up from £18.5m in 2018, and acquired and fully integrated York Brewery, its brand and four of its outlets in York and Leeds.

The company also acquired Leeds-based bar and restaurant Kith & Kin to expand the portfolio of pubs operated by its newly-created retail division, Black Sheep Retail Limited, to five.

New group finance director Simon Adams is expected to help the company develop and diversify to help drive profits over the coming few years.

The brewery is also investing further by building a packaging plant on its site at Fearby Road in its North Yorkshire home town, with the company having already invested £200,000 in capital equipment for the plant, in addition to receiving grant funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The facility will enable Black Sheep to bring its can, keg and bottle packaging operation in-house, helping to reduce costs and boost productivity.

Last year the brewery also won a series of awards in both the National Independent Beer Awards and the World Beer Awards for both its new beers and also some of the established core range.

Andy Slee, chairman of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “Our diversification into pub ownership and to develop packaging capabilities to supplement our core brewing activity is proving to be a positive strategy.

“Brewing continues to be a challenging industry in which to operate, which is exemplified by the suffocating levels of beer duty we pay, accounting for 40 per cent of our turnover.

“However, we remain agile and proactive through the development of new products and programmes of investment that will enable the brewery to continue to move forward.

“Working with our loyal shareholders and pursuing new routes to fundraising for the business, we are committed to the fast pace of change we are delivering at Black Sheep Brewery that will ensure we bolster our position as an iconic Yorkshire brand and innovative and creative brewer.”