David Parkin on a rebel with a cause

IT has been sad to read about the crisis facing Yorkshire’s iconic Black Sheep Brewery.

The Masham-based business this week announced its intention to appoint administrators after failing to secure new investment or a sale of the firm.

The company said it had been “hit very hard” by the pandemic and rising costs and its board said the decision to appoint Teneo Financial Advisory would protect the interests of its creditors.

Charlene Lyons, chief executive and executive chair of Black Sheep Brewery, said the company had done its “utmost to deliver new investment” but it had not been possible.

“We are progressing with our discussions around a sale of the business,” she said, pointing out that Black Sheep had faced a “perfect storm” in recent years of the pandemic followed by a rise in all of its costs.

She added that the firm hoped to achieve continuity for the brewery and its 50 staff.

Founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston, I’d argue that there can’t be many businesses started in the last 30 years who could be called “household names” from Yorkshire alongside the likes of Morrisons, Bettys and Asda.

If there is one positive we can take from this week’s news it is that it has reminded people about Black Sheep Brewery.

A social media message from Black Sheep Brewery posted this week said: “Thanks for all the supportive messages since our announcement, but we’ve not gone anywhere!

“We’ve just had 22 tonnes of malt delivered and are busily making more beer and can supply everyone as normal. So, if you’d like to help us, get out to your local and sup some Black Sheep!”

Let’s hope that happens – I plan to do my bit.

Paul Theakston started the business after other members of the family brewing dynasty voted to sell the historic T&R Theakston brewery business to Blackburn brewer Matthew Brown which was subsequently taken over by industry giant Scottish & Newcastle.

The name was particularly apt, given Paul was very much the black sheep of the family.

And to underline that point, he started brewing next door to T&R Theakston’s brewery in the picturesque North Yorkshire market town of Masham.

T&R Theakston has since been brought back under Theakston family control led by Paul’s cousin Simon.

Paul Theakston stepped down from the Black Sheep board a few years ago but remained an ambassador for the business, where his likeable sons Jo and Rob both work.

Given this history of individualism and independence, it would be sadly ironic if Black Sheep Brewery is now bought by a national or international drinks group.

It is to be hoped that the quality of its products and strength of its brand can help secure its future as an independent and iconic Yorkshire business.


TOMORROW’S Coronation may seem to unite our country, but according to the media it has also split the nation.

But with barely a day to go Great Britain is still, apparently, split on what nickname to coin for the Coronation weekend.

Suggestions range from Chazzle Dazzle and Corrie Nash to the Coribobs and Chazza’s Corro.

‘Platty Jubes’ “quickly became synonymous with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last June” – well, according to Daily Mail website Mail Online – and now social media is awash with options for the biggest day of King Charles’ life tomorrow.

Other “worthy” candidates include The Cozza, Crowny Chas, Chazza’s Corro, the Corrie Norrie, Corry Nay-Nay and the Corry Natty.

I mentioned last week that some people have even coined the phrase “cozzy livs” for the cost of living crisis.

What is this new obsession for coining a ridiculous nickname for everything?

You are not five years old and in the school playground. GET A GRIP!

If you are going to talk like that you will not be welcome at my house over the Coronation weekend.

So no drinky winkies round Davy Wavys for you.

Anyway, I’m off to ice my Coribob buns so I’m cutting the blog a bit short this week.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Coronation celebrations.

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