Black Sheep in Masham buys troubled York brewery out of administration, saving dozens of jobs

Black Sheep Brewery managing director Rob Theakston (left) and Black Sheep Brewery chairman Andy Slee (right) toast their company's acquisition of York Brewery from administration.
Black Sheep Brewery managing director Rob Theakston (left) and Black Sheep Brewery chairman Andy Slee (right) toast their company's acquisition of York Brewery from administration.

The Black Sheep Brewery in Masham has bought the troubled York Brewery, saving more than 40 jobs.

York Brewery, which was founded in 1996 within the city’s walls, entered administration on December 13, together with its parent company, Mitchell’s of Lancaster.

Black Sheep has acquired the £2.1m-turnover firm and brands, as well as four pubs: Last Drop Inn, The Tap Room and The Three Legged Mare – all in York – and Mr Foley’s Tap House in Leeds.

The acquisition, which was for an undisclosed sum and facilitated by joint administrators Steven Muncaster and Sarah Bell of Duff & Phelps Ltd, builds on a positive year for Black Sheep, which returned to profit in 2018.

Black Sheep chairman Andy Slee said: “This acquisition fits perfectly with our strategy of developing our presence in our Yorkshire heartland and owning pubs.

“Entering administration was worrying for the team at York Brewery, but our deal offers some comfort that its successful brand can be maintained, and the pubs can continue to operate.”

York Brewery brews five permanent beers, plus several monthly and special ales.

Black Sheep managing director Rob Theakston said: “Over the last 26 years we have produced some of the UK’s most iconic, award-winning beers, and the purchase of another longstanding brewery will secure the future of another well-respected Yorkshire brand. It also starts our journey into retail which was announced at the AGM in September. We are delighted with the acquisition.”

Steven Muncaster, managing director of Duff & Phelps, added: “Despite being a popular destination for both locals and tourists, York Brewery unfortunately continued to face cashflow pressures, ultimately resulting in it being placed into administration.

“However, we’re delighted to have secured a sale for York Brewery, which is especially pleasing so close to Christmas.”