Fri, 05 May 2023 | ADMINISTRATION
North Yorkshire-based brewer Black Sheep Brewery has issued a notice to appoint administrators as efforts continue to be made to find a buyer for the firm. The company had been attempting to secure external investment and had explored strategic options, including a full or partial sale, amid funding constraints.
However, efforts to attract new funding have failed and the Masham-based company is now set to appoint Teneo Financial Advisory, which had previously led the process to explore the group’s options, as administrators.
Teneo’s Kristian Shuttleworth and Clare Boardman are due to be appointed as joint administrators, in a move that the company says is being carried out to protect the interests of its creditors. The firm is still exploring a sale of its business and assets.
Black Sheep was founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston, formerly of brewer T&R Theakston. The company became well known across the UK for its branded ales and bitters, which were sold on cask in pubs, as well as in supermarkets. The company has also expanded into lagers, keg beers and cider.
However, it was hit by the impact of COVID-19, with the closure of pubs during the pandemic taking a significant toll on many brewers, and more recently by a sudden rise in costs. Despite seeing its turnover increase from £13.3 million in 2020/21 to £14.3 million in 2021/22, the company fell from a £1.18 million profit to a pre-tax loss of £862,871.
Black Sheep Brewery CEO and executive chair Charlene Lyons said: "The directors have done their utmost to deliver new investment into the existing corporate structure. This has not been possible, but we are progressing with our discussions around a sale of the business.”
"Black Sheep Brewery has great products, a compelling brand and is supported by a dedicated team of people who are capable of delivering great results for the business in a different structure. We are focused on achieving continuity of the business and employment and thank everyone for their support so far. We have taken the decision to protect the business and its creditors, during this period, by filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators.”
"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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