• 55°

Spirit of Rowan: The toast of Salisbury: Andy Maben’s rise from home brewer to beer master

The next time a patron at New Sarum Brewery raises a glass of beer, they might want to toast the Carolina Panthers.

Without Charlotte’s NFL team, the founder of one of Salisbury’s premier breweries might not have come to the Tar Heel state.

Even though Andy Maben, 38, grew up in a household that loved the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, he switched loyalties to the Panthers when his favorite player, Kevin Greene, signed with the NFL’s 29th franchise in the mid 1990s.

“I was like man, I think I’m going to pull for this team,” Maben said. “It went against all grains and odds and things of that nature, but I said, ‘I think this is what I want to do.’ ”

When Maben graduated from high school in Wisconsin and was deciding where to go to college in 2001, the Panthers played a part. Interested in theater arts, Maben applied and was accepted to three drama programs: Catawba College, Texas A&M and SUNY Purchase. While Catawba’s intimate, liberal arts program stood out to Maben, so did its proximity to his favorite team.

“(Catawba) really sold me, but it was also a cool thing to be 45 minutes away from Bank of America (stadium),” Maben said.

After graduating from Catawba, Maben stuck around Salisbury and got a job at the Salty Caper. In his spare time, Maben explored an interest he’d harbored since before he could even legally drink — brewing beer. Maben soon kicked his smoking habit in order to save up enough money to invest in home brew equipment.

“I gave up one vice for another, but the second vice was more productive,” Maben said. “For me, it made sense to really just go in head first and sacrifice something so that I could learn.”

Learn, he did.

Eventually, Maben’s brewing hobby became a side business for the Salty Caper. For two years, he experimentally brewed beers in a tiny space next to the Salty Caper’s main building. The exploratory beers were only sold in the Salty Caper’s two locations and at La Cava, a fine dining restaurant in downtown Salisbury.

“We invested a minimal amount of money and the whole reason was to see if it would work,” Maben said. “I had 17 beers in the back of my head that I was thinking maybe would work.”

The beer did work. The New Sarum brews were a hit at the restaurants. With the support of his business partners, Maben opened up a much larger brewery and taproom at 109 N. Lee St in 2016.

Since then, the brewery has continued to expand and its beers can now be found in grocery stores and bars throughout the region. New Sarum releases more than a dozen special concoctions each year, ranging from a pickle-flavored sour beer to dark, rich porters. 

Several years ago, Maben even secured a meeting with Carolina Panthers executives to discuss about selling his beer in the team’s stadium.

“We went to the stadium and we walk down through the back of the stadium and I was like, ‘I’m not supposed to be here,’ ” Maben said. “It really became this cool, interesting and surreal feeling, like this is actually going to happen.”

This year, New Sarum developed a beer specifically for Maben’s beloved team. Called “Thirst and Goal,” the beer was sold to the few patrons allowed in the stadium.

Maben is the man behind the brewery’s ascension, but he attributes its success to his entire team, which includes his brother, Johnny.

“I have a great team of business partners that really understand how things should progress,” Maben said. “I’m going to reiterate that until the day I die. If I didn’t have a great team around me, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

Along with continuing to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maben said he wants to keep expanding New Sarum’s brand in 2021.

Comments

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday

Education

Schools capital funding still frozen as RSS sends local budget to county

Business

Shields, Cheerwine Festival receive N.C. Main Street Awards

Kannapolis

Duke University launches kidney disease study in Kannapolis for people of African descent

Education

Horizons Unlimited will hold in-person summer camps

Education

Education briefs: Catawba planning for more in-person activities, free summer school tuition

High School

High school golf: With Merrell, Mustangs back on top

Coronavirus

County’s full COVID-19 vaccinations top 22,600

Local

Spencer investigating rat problem on South Iredell Street