North Yorkshire brewer invests in new bottling plant

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Black Sheep’s new bottling line will bring production in-house
Black Sheep’s new bottling line will bring production in-house

Related tags: Drinks

Black Sheep, the North Yorkshire-based brewery, is to build a new plant that will feature a bottling line capable of delivering 6,000 units per hour, Food Manufacture has learned.

The facility, which is being built on its site at Fearby Road in Masham, will also have the ability to process 1,500 cans and 35 kegs per hour.

At least £200,000 has been invested in the plant, which has also received Local Enterprise Partnership grant funding, the business said.

At present, the brewery’s products are packaged by a third-party supplier.

Bring operations in-house

The new factory – which has a 12 month build programme – would enable it to keep operations in-house and would bring a significant reduction in costs and increase flexibility to supply customers, it said

The news comes as the company announced a second successive year of profit following the establishment of a dedicated Black Sheep retail division, continued investment in the business and a new beer and lager range.

Figures for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 reported turnover of £19.3m, up from £18.5m in 2018, although operating profit dropped from £260,000 in 2018 to £254,000 in 2019.

During the year the firm acquired and fully integrated York Brewery, its brand and four of its outlets in York and Leeds.

Expanded portfolio

It also bought Leeds-based bar and restaurant Kith & Kin to expand the portfolio of pubs operated by its newly created retail division to five.

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

“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 percent 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.”

Meanwhile, East Anglian brewery Woodforde’s has revealed plans to export its range of beers to more global markets,​ supported by the appointment of its first export manager.

Related topics: Operations, Drinks

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