Don’t go to the beer. Let the beer come to you.
That’s the idea behind a new business that’s bringing in ales and stouts and sours from throughout craft brewery-rich Pennsylvania right to downtown Harrisburg. So, now, local beer-lovers can taste and sample and purchase without needing to venture all the way out to Erie or Easton or Philly.
sip@soma debuted last night with a soft opening at its storefront on S. 3rd Street, featuring a dozen taps from Free Will Brewing Co.
What are the chances you’ll ever get to Free Will’s home brewery in Perkasie, Pa., a borough in Bucks County? Probably pretty small, but, thanks to sip@soma, you don’t have to.
“It’s so exciting to have these great producers from all over the commonwealth set up right here in downtown Harrisburg,” said Brad Jones, CEO of Harristown Enterprises, which is sponsoring the enterprise. “Pennsylvania is known for its great craft beer, and now you’ll be able to sample many of them from the tap right here.”
But it’s not just beer. sip@soma also plans to bring in Pennsylvania wines and spirits, all for limited engagements.
Right now, sip@soma is planning monthly events to coincide with 3rd in the Burg, Harrisburg’s arts and community celebration that takes place every third Friday of the month. In fact, Free Will Brewing will make a return visit for the March 15 3rd in the Burg. In addition, numerous events are planned for the 2019 Harrisburg Beer Week, which will run April 26 to May 5.
sip@soma’s snug tasting room features a small bar, 12 taps and just 20 seats, designed so that attendees can have an intimate experience, often with a chance to meet the brewer, vintner or distiller, Jones said.
Due to the limited seating, attendees must make reservations via free tickets.
Jones said that, besides introducing locals to these craft producers, it’s a chance for the brewers, vintners and distillers to get to know Harrisburg. His hope is that, once exposed to the Harrisburg market, they might be interested in a permanent spot in the city.
“We’re excited to introduce brewers and producers from around the state to the SoMa district—and vice versa,” said Sara Bozich, well-known local nightlife writer and CEO of Sara Bozich, an experiential marketing company, who is working with Harristown on sip@soma.
During events, customers can purchase beverages by the glass and packaged products to go. Vendors will use their state-provided exposition permits to sell in the space.
sip@soma will not sell food, but neighboring restaurants Bricco and El Sol will offer guests a small delivery menu.
Jones said that he hopes that sip@soma also will expose more people to the SoMa neighborhood and help create a critical mass of small shops in the newly restored storefronts along S. 3rd, Market and Chestnut streets.
“We believe this new tasting room will continue to create leasing opportunities for new boutiques and small businesses to occupy some of the available 1st-floor retail spaces in SoMa,” Jones said.