Black Sheep Brewery consulting on job cuts

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ONE of the region’s best known businesses, the Black Sheep Brewery has confirmed it is consulting on redundancies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the brewery insists it is part of a scheme to ensure the business succeeds and expands well into the future.

It is understood the job cuts involve up to 20 of the brewery’s staff from a workforce of about 150.

Staff said they were told about the consultation, some through a Zoom call, yesterday morning.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Despite considering every option at our disposal, this is a necessary and unavoidable process as we continue to negotiate through one of the most challenging periods in the history of the hospitality industry.

“With a sustainable cost base, we believe we can achieve our strategic objectives to continue to ensure Black Sheep succeeds well into the future, expanding our presence and our position as one of Yorkshire’s most recognised brands.”

The business, which had a turnover of £19m last year, is said to have lost about 70 per cent of business overnight through the hospitality industry when the lockdown was announced in March.

Following the shutdown when pubs and hotels were closed, the brewery built up online sales which have reportedly risen by 3,000 per cent.

The company was originally started in 1992 by Paul Theakston, as a fifth generation brewer, took a leap into the unknown setting up the stand alone Black Sheep brewery in Masham after the family company T and R Theakston was sold to a national company.

His sons Jo and Rob have helped carry on the company which in January this year appointed management consultant Charlene Lyons as the chief executive. In an interview for a regional newspaper at the weekend she said she was worried about the industry as a whole but is upbeat about Black Sheep as a business and its ability to weather any storm.

She said before the pubs even closed and business changed they had plans in place to see how they were going to manage the whole situation. They overhauled pack styles, introduced mini-kegs and launched a huge social media drive along with a new increasingly popular deliver EWE service.

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