Keystone confirms job cuts at Black Sheep Brewery

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Keystone has confirmed a 'small number' of redundancies at Black Sheep Brewery. Image: Getty, Anghi
Keystone has confirmed a 'small number' of redundancies at Black Sheep Brewery. Image: Getty, Anghi

Related tags labour shortage

A restructure of Keystone Brewing’s drinks estate has resulted in a number of job cuts across Black Sheep Brewery.

The redundancies followed a ‘strategic restructuring’ of the business in January, less than a year after it acquired the north Yorkshire brewery out of administration in May 2023.

Keystone said an ‘enormously challenging’ hospitality sector was the main reason behind the redundancies and that efficiency measures were essential to secure the future of the brewery.

Impact of the decision

Mark Williams, chief executive of Keystone Brewing Group, said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for all, and we are saddened the impact of this decision will have on our valued colleagues.

“Making redundancies is always the last resort, but unfortunately, we have been forced to consider all options available to us. This is about making the brewery as efficient as possible and securing its legacy for years to come.”

News of redundancies at Black Sheep Brewery comes less than a week after it revealed a ‘major rebrand’ of the business.

Following the purchase last year, Keystone announced plans to invest £1m in its Masham brewery in a move that would consolidate the production of Black Sheep beers with two other craft breweries, Brick and Brew by Numbers.

Committed to Masham

“Keystone Brewing Group remains committed to Black Sheep and the local area, and its significant investment plans to turn Masham into a centre for brewing excellence remain totally unaffected,”​ Williams added.

Last month also saw Black Sheep chief executive Charlene Lyons step down from the role to ‘pursue other interests’​. He joined the brewer nine years ago and stepped up to the role of CEO just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, nearly 200 people working for AG Barr are facing redundancy​ after the drinks manufacturer confirmed it was making significant changes to how its business operates.

The overhaul includes plans to close its Barr Direct store delivery service, which operates out of three sites, from June 2024. Service is due to run as normal over the next couple of weeks.

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