Hear ye, beer ye: New Sarum Brewing Company celebrates seventh “annibeersary”

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023

SALISBURY — Old Sarum, England, is the site of a now ruined cathedral that was once the first settlement of Salisbury, a nearly thousand-year-old city in Wiltshire County in the southern region of England. It is also the sister city of Salisbury here in Rowan.

So when Andy Maben was brainstorming what would be the best name for a brewery he and his family wanted to start, it only made sense to call it New Sarum. The logo of the brewery is actually a combination of the city of Salisbury crest and the Old Sarum crest.

“Since we’re the newer Salisbury, we call ourselves the New Sarum,” Maben said. He is the co-owner and brewmaster of the company.

The brewery celebrated its seventh birthday on Saturday with an “annibeersary” filled with local bands, food trucks, games, fresh merchandise and even better drinks. Hundreds packed the brewery’s parking lot to lounge, chat, dance to music and drink acclaimed brews, as well as get their taste buds on special release beers the brewery made and canned just for the event.

Four specialty beers were brewed just for the occasion: Berry Smalls, a smoothie sour ale; Con Seannery, a Scottish ale; Razor’s Edge, a hazy, white oak IPA and a Horchata Milk Stout.

But getting your hands on the beers was only the start. Local vendors and food trucks were serving snacks to hungry drinkers. Ax throwing and bow and arrow booths were set up for anyone who thought their equilibrium wasn’t too affected. All of this was going on while local bands such as Mojo Stomp and Paper Wasps filled the parking lot with jams for residents to groove and sing along with.

John Owensby, who was born and raised in Rockwell, set up his lawn chair and was enjoying a Berry Smalls while getting ready to see some of his favorite bands hit the stage. He said this event is the one he looks forward to most every year, even more than the Cheerwine Festival because it has a much more laid back atmosphere. He said he frequents the brewery once or twice a week to try out the latest beers.

“This is probably my fourth or fifth annibeersary. I always come for the local bands,” Owensby said.

Sue Cox was also sitting in front of the stage with friends and family. She recently moved to town a couple years ago and was enjoying her second annibeersary, saying events like this were one of the main reasons why she has found such a home in Salisbury.

“We love the community. We love that there’s something going on every weekend,” Cox said. “There’s just always something, I love it.”

Residents like Owensby and Cox could enjoy the party thanks to the brewery’s staff, who made sure everything was running smoothly and cups were being filled. Maben thanked them for the years of hard work that has made the company such a success story.

Haley Mashburn, who was setting up and selling the brewery’s merchandise, said her favorite part of the event was “all the wonderful beer I can’t drink because I’m pregnant.” She joined the New Sarum team about a year ago as a “beertender” and views the job and her colleagues as family.

“The community and everyone feels like family. Andy is one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. You walk in and you instantly feel like you are a part of the fam,” Mashburn said. “It’s just fun.”

For Maben, picking Salisbury as the city for his venture was easy. He moved to the city in 2001 from Milwaukee to attend Catawba College and never left. He doesn’t plan on it either.

“The main goal we had was to be a community-driven brewing company and I think we’ve successfully done that,” Maben said. “I’m just thankful for the support we’ve had. It’s been a long road and there’s been a lot of stuff happening in the world and we still got a great following of very loyal customers and I’m super thankful for that.”