Wigan brewery opens long-awaited micropub

Stuart Hurst and Bob Nelson from Hophurst at the new microbar
Stuart Hurst and Bob Nelson from Hophurst at the new microbar

A Wigan brewery has welcomed its first customers through the door of its new microbar after a long saga to gain its own watering hole.

The Twisted Vine Ale House in Ashton, owned by Hophurst Brewery, opened to the public on Saturday evening following a couple of soft launch nights late last week.

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The bar is an intriguing blend of old and new, with a modern industrial theme and keg beers alongside no fewer than seven handpumps for real ale including a selection of Hophurst’s own brews.

The ale producer settled on the Wigan Road site after a long search for premises which included falling foul of the council’s rules on new places with alcohol licenses in Wigan town centre.

Brewery founder Stuart Hurst said: “We had been looking for a venue for a couple of years. We tried to get one in Wigan town centre but we were knocked back for various reasons regarding council policies.

“Since then we were trying to get a suitable location.

“We looked at a couple of places and this was the one that stood out. The landlord knew we were looking for somewhere and wanted to create a bar on the ground floor so approached us about it.

“The overall feel is quite modern. We didn’t want it to be an old traditional pub, we wanted to appeal to a large cross-section of society.”

The Twisted Vine also reflects Hophurst’s work as a social enterprise re-training unemployed over 50s, with John Lennox who came through that programme installed as the bar manager alongside four other members of staff.

Stuart stressed the bar will not be a brewery tap but will have a couple of Hophurst beers on alongside up to five guest ales, with both selections rotating.

There will also be British-made gins and vodkas and a small selection of cold snacks and pork pies.

The place has been created in a former shop and the building was previously quite run down following a long period when it was unused. Now the bar occupies the ground floor and there are flats upstairs.

Stuart also wants to put on an opening event for Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue, a stalwart supporter of Hophurst.

For more information follow the venue on Twitter @TwistedVineAH