Instead of annual festival, New Sarum turns Cheerwine beer release into celebration – Salisbury Post

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SALISBURY – Lee Roberts says he missed the opportunity to enjoy New Sarum Brewing Company’s Cheerwine lager before, but he wasn’t going to let that happen on Saturday.

“As soon as New Sarum says ‘Cheerwine’ I’m here,” said Roberts.

Roberts, who lives in Faith, was at the front of a long line of patrons ready to buy cans of New Sarum soda-inspired beer outside the bustling Lee Street Brewery.

Preparing thousands of people to fill the streets of downtown Salisbury for the Cheerwine Festival, which was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, New Sarum brewed hundreds of gallons of Cheerwine beer. Since last year’s festival was canceled, master brewer Andy Maben has decided to make this year even more special by adding three new varieties of Cheerwine beer, including a Cheerwine sour, stout and hazy IPA.

When the festival was canceled for the second year in a row due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Rowan County, New Sarum had a lot of beer on their hands and no festivals to sell it. That’s why the brewery hosted a launch party on Saturday, offering their sought-after Cheerwine beer on tap and to go. But the brewery didn’t just whip out its excess soda-flavored beer, it turned the day into a party by hosting food trucks and bringing live music to its parking lot.

“We thought it was going to be a huge day and it ended up being nothing, so we got a chance to schedule this,” Maben said. “I’m pretty lucky and counting my stars right now.”

Whenever New Sarum releases a lager based on Salisbury’s favorite soft drink, beer lovers rush to get their hands on some. Saturday was no different.

While New Sarum didn’t start selling its beer until noon, the queue for lager packs started to form around 9:30 am. As noon approaches, the queue s ‘stretched out in the parking lot behind The Gateway building and overflowed onto the sidewalk. along Lee Street.

“People really appreciate it,” Maben said. “I’m lucky to be able to do it, and if Cheerwine hadn’t even thought about it, we wouldn’t be here to do this.” I am grateful that they trust us and our profession as much as we trusted them and their profession.

Customers were limited to two six-packs per person, so most of the people waiting in line left.

Shannon McKinnon, who was visiting Salisbury with his wife from their Wilson home, stopped to pick up a few six packs to take with him. McKinnon said they would likely have come to Rowan County for the Cheerwine Festival, but decided to come for the beer outing and sightseeing anyway.

“I hated it because I wanted to come so badly,” McKinnon said. “I love Cheerwine.”

Although McKinnon said he had never tried New Sarum’s Cheerwine beer before, he wasn’t worried about the taste of the two six-packs.

“It’s Cheerwine, so you can’t go wrong,” McKinnon said.

Those interested in trying one of three new versions of New Sarum’s Cheerwine could pick up a mug in one of two tents set up in the parking lot or in the bustling sales room inside.

All beers were made with permission from Cheerwine using the company’s Cheerwine syrup. New Sarum brewed 30 barrels of Cheerwine lager, 15 barrels each of sour misty IPA and 4 barrels of stout. With each barrel containing 31 gallons, that means nearly 2,000 gallons of beer were made and ready to go on Saturday.

The Cheerwine lager, Maben said, finished brewing just in time for New Sarum staff to can it on Friday night.

Several of the bands and food trucks that were in New Sarum on Saturday were originally scheduled to play at the Cheerwine Festival. Live entertainment included Bergenline, His and Hers and 9daytrip. Food trucks included LobsterDogs, What-A-Burger No. 13, Mambo sur Ruedas and This Little Piggy BBQ Smokehouse.

Launched six weeks ago, This Little Piggy food truck failed to make the Cheerwine Festival list. However, the Granite Quarry-based company planned to offer its pulled pork and other smoke pit delicacies at the grand opening of Bell Tower Green and Pops at the Post, both of which were canceled from the same way.

When New Sarum asked if they’d like to be a part of the Cheerwine beer release, Paige Overcash jumped at the chance.

“I was thrilled,” said Overcash, wearing a Cheerwine shirt and hat. “I canceled my vacation for this.”

New Sarum had also put up several signs in the brewery to let people know that other businesses in Salisbury town center were selling Cheerwine products. One of those companies was Hive, who set up a display of locally made Cheerwine products in their store. Hive will continue to offer Cheerwine jellies, soaps and more.

“We are trying to support as much as possible to help the downtown community, who are looking forward to that extra cash flow from Cheerwine Festival,” Maben said. “And that was the second year, we couldn’t do it.”


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