Gov 'hasn't done enough' to protect brewers

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Perfect storm: Government has not done enough to protect brewers from events beyond their control (Credit: Getty/LauriPatterson)
Perfect storm: Government has not done enough to protect brewers from events beyond their control (Credit: Getty/LauriPatterson)

Related tags Black sheep brewery Camra Beer Finance

Black Sheep Brewery’s notice to appoint administrators shows the Government “simply hasn’t done enough”, The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) has claimed.

The North Yorkshire brewer and pub operator yesterday (Wednesday 3 May) announced it had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators​ as discussions around its potential sale “progress”.

CAMRA​ real ale cider and perry campaigns director Gillian Hough said: "The fact that one of the UK's most recognisable independent family brewers has put out a notice to appoint administrators shows just how serious the cost-of-business crisis is for brewers and cider makers.

“Despite some support being available, CAMRA believes the Government simply hasn't done enough to ensure brewers are not forced to close by events beyond their control.”

Strategic review 

Black Sheep Brewery last month recruited Teneo​​ as its financial adviser as part of a “strategic review” to explore funding options with a view to take the business forward amid prevailing economic conditions.

A statement from the brewery explained the decision had been taken to “protect the business and its creditors”.

While Black Sheep is no longer seeking a possible acquisition, as stated when the review was commenced, it is considering the “sale of the business and assets of the company”.

Hough added: “Black Sheep is still actively brewing and producing beer, while their board are working hard to secure a sale of the business which will protect jobs and ensure they can continue to trade.  

“Imminent hikes in fixed costs like business rates ​and alcohol duty​ mean brewers and cider makers across the UK will be facing the same 'perfect storm' as the Masham-based brewery.

Sudden rise 

“Black Sheep ales appear regularly at CAMRA events and their cask range is a much-loved sight at bars across the nation’s pubs, so we hope a solution can be found which secures Black Sheep's future."

The brewery’s statement added no shares would be traded on Asset Match until further notice and that an auction previously scheduled for Wednesday 24 May 2023 had been suspended.

Black Sheep Brewery chief executive and chair Charlene Lyons said: “The business has been hit very hard by the pandemic and the sudden rise in all costs​​.

“Covid loans were useful but, in the end, could not sufficiently compensate for reduced cash flow in the long term.

“It has been the perfect storm, but the team are confident that with a new structure Black Sheep​​ will thrive and grow as the team set course in a new direction.”


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