York Brewery has been saved – after another North Yorkshire brewer snapped it up.

Black Sheep Brewery revealed on Friday (21 December) that it had bought York Brewery, and transferred more than 40 jobs to its business.

As YorkMix revealed eight days ago, the Toft Green brewery had gone into administration on December 13, together with its parent company, Mitchell’s of Lancaster.


Black Sheep has acquired the £2.1m-turnover York Brewery and brands as well as four outlets in the business as part of the deal, which is for an undisclosed sum.

The pubs are:

  • Last Drop Inn, York
  • The Tap Room, York
  • The Three Legged Mare, York
  • and Mr Foley’s Tap House, Leeds

Perfect fit

The deal was put together with administrators Steven Muncaster and Sarah Bell of Manchester-based Duff & Phelps Ltd.

It 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 complements our strong brands and by acting quickly we have been able to provide a good outcome for both organisations.

A respected Yorkshire brand

A new future for York Brewery. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Black Sheep was set up by Paul Theakston in 1991, after he left family brewery Theakstons when it was taken over by Scottish & Newcastle.

Paul’s eldest son Rob became MD in 2011. “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,” he said.

“It also starts our journey into retail which was announced at the AGM in September. We are delighted with the acquisition.”

MD of administrators Duff & Phelps Steven Muncaster said:

  • 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.

We’ll drink to that. Cheers!