The Black Sheep brewery in Masham has a new owner - ending weeks of speculation about its future.

The business had appointed administrators to find vital new investment after suffering from a 'perfect storm' of the pandemic coupled with rising costs, but today it was confirmed that London-based investor Breal Group had taken over.

A spokesperson for what will now be called 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.

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


The Northern Echo: The famous Masham breweryThe famous Masham brewery (Image: Newsquest)

“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.”

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There was no immediate word about any change to staffing levels or who the senior management team will be at the iconic brewery site that dominates the town. 

Breal, a partnership between experienced finance experts Brent Osborne and Alan McLaren, describes itself as having:

  • Deep business and finance experience, resulting in bespoke solutions and outstanding outcomes.
  • A collaborative, relationship-driven approach, bringing stakeholders together to power business performance.
  • The speed and responsiveness of an entrepreneurial partner, maximising opportunities for success.
  • A special chemistry of teamwork to achieve common goals, never divisive, always decisive.

Black Sheep was set up by Paul Theakston following Theakston being sold to a larger brewer (Scottish & Newcastle), before Theakston Brewery was bought back by Simon Theakston and his brothers in 2003 and has been in family control ever since.

Black Sheep has continued to champion its independence and remains with Paul's family with his sons Rob and Jo playing key roles in the brewery’s daily operations.