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July 4, 2020

Cheers: New Sarum donates $6,000 to COVID-19 relief with relaunch of Cheerwine Lager

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A line of hundreds wrapped around the block at New Sarum Brewing on a sunny Friday in downtown Salisbury, with everyone waiting to get their hands on a batch of the popular Cheerwine Lager.

And the cherry on top was a $4 donation to the Rowan County United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund for every six-pack sold.

New Sarum Brewing, located at 109 N Lee St., sold 400 cases of 12-ounce cans in just three hours, and finished the sales with $6,000 to donate to the county’s COVID-19 relief fund.

Due to such high demand for the brew, planning for another release of the lager began days after the virtual Cheerwine Festival on May 16. That release included 1,100 crowlers, totaling eight barrels of beer, which was twice the amount concocted for last year’s Cheerwine Festival. As the demand has continued to grow, Friday’s batch of 30 barrels was almost three times more than the last batch.

The Cheerwine Lager also involves another local brand just right down the road; the drink includes Carolina Malthouse malt, which is used exclusively for all lagers at New Sarum, said New Sarum co-owner and brewmaster Andy Maben. The lager includes cascade hops, used in American brews, and German yeast, making the popular brew a hybrid American-German lager with Cheerwine syrup.

While ales can be concocted in 14-18 days, lagers take up to six weeks, which makes releasing more Cheerwine beer difficult, as New Sarum isn’t “just getting Cheerwine syrup and adding it to the beer,” Maben said.

Using local ingredients is important to New Sarum, and so is keeping money in the community.

“We have the ability to try and help out as much as we can,” Maben said as he was on his way to Patterson Farm for strawberries that’ll be used in a future brew. “We’re a community-driven brewery. It’s super cool to be able to team up with other like-minded individuals.”

Maben said the brewery serves as a vehicle to help others in the community.

A previous initiative from New Sarum was the selling of “RoCo Strong” T-shirts in early April, which amounted to a $3,000 donation to the county COVID-19 relief fund. After Friday’s batch, the brewery will have donated almost $10,000 to helping with the pandemic here in the community.

Maben said Friday’s Cheerwine lager release should have, hopefully, given people a little bit of relief with everything going on right now. On the brewery’s Facebook announcement of the re-release, one of the “house rules” was to be kind to each other. By that, Maben said, New Sarum asked community members to do their part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and to just be nice to others, especially with all the tension being experienced across the nation at this time.

“It should be a fun experience,” Maben said. “And if that doesn’t bring people together, then I don’t know what will. If you can’t be kind, then what are we doing?”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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