Words and photo by
Salisbury’s first craft ale bar is celebrating six months in business this month. Sips first opened its doors on March 31st in the Maltings. Owner Jacob Price has been reflecting on the bar’s success so far. His journey began in Devizes, where he worked for a number of years at two different bars.
“Devizes was where my passion for craft ales developed as I started to consider how I could do things differently to give guests a more authentic and memorable experience. I spent a year conceiving the vision for Sips.”
The bar’s name took some time to conceive but fit the owner’s vision perfectly. “The name Sips came after a lot of deliberating. In the end, it sounded easy to say and remember, and the name just stuck. The idea behind the name is that you come to our bar to sip beers slowly, savouring the unique flavours, rather than drinking just to feel a bit woozy.”
Jacob tries to maintain a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere at Sips, but that’s hard to get right every time. “It’s hard to create a perfect experience for guests. But I remember that one day when everyone was having a great time, and the next day someone came in to tell me their mind was blown by how they could enjoy such a vibe in a pub.”
And that vibe has a familiar feel: “My goal is for people to enter Sips for the first time with the wonder and excitement that Charlie did in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory as they see what’s on offer. I want people to leave their comfort zone with the drinks they try inside a comfortable bar environment.”
The artisan approach to beer at Sips is similar to many wine bars’ handling of their products. “I never grew up with wine and worked a lot with many different types of beer. I have tried hundreds of beers I would never have tried otherwise because beer offers far more variety than wine. Recently we accepted delivery of a yuzu fruit, seaweed and squid ink sour beer. You just can’t replicate such specific flavours with wine.”
Jacob has noticed that he is no longer the only craft ales provider. “Some chain pubs in Salisbury have upped their game and offered more local, braver, and unique beers than before. Some pubs have started including craft ales in their tap offerings. I feel proud of Sips’ potential effect on improving the image and popularity of craft ales in Salisbury, and I think it is a good thing for all pubs and pub-goers.”
Sips can be found at 4 The Maltings, Salisbury SP1 1BD.