Wigan’s real ale enthusiasts now have their very own treasure map leading them towards the finest pints in the borough with a new scheme.
The Wigan Ale Map has been put together by award-winning micropub Wigan Central and its manageress Jo Ashton in the run-up to Wigan Beer Festival.
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More than a dozen watering holes in the town centre are included in the 22 boozers on the map, which stretches as far as Standish, Crooke Village, Ashton and Winstanley.
The idea has not been run in Wigan before but is popular elsewhere, including the ale haven where Jo first saw a similar scheme in action.
She said: “I love Lancaster and spend quite a lot of time there. There are 31 real ale pubs in the city and they have a map, so that’s what I was inspired by.
“The idea has been pitched by Wigan Camra a couple of times and has been well received, so it was a case of someone just getting on and doing it.
“I’ve done it for real ale, not for Wigan Central. It’s about bringing all the pubs together and collaborating and make Wigan a real ale hub rather than just working individually.
“We’ve had some really good responses and I think it has the potential for growth, representing the best real ale pubs in Wigan.”
As well as showing where Wigan’s vibrant beer scene is best it also provides extra promotion for the annual Wigan Camra Beer Festival at the end of February and beginning of March.
Enthusiasts can collect stamps for each pub taking part they visit, with 10 getting them entry to the Robin Park bash and a pint and all 22 landing a deluxe package of hops-themed goodies.
The map also provides an indication of the beer scene’s diversity in town, with traditional watering holes joined by modern craft bars and long-established drinking venues rubbing shoulders with newcomers.
Jo said: “Every pub in it has its own little take on it. The Bailiff Bar at The Old Courts is quite music-heavy, the John Bull Chophouse has a craft beer bar upstairs, we’ve got our train aspect and there’s Standish Unity Club.
“There’s also the new Real Ale Revolution at Winstanley, which is really stylish, and ones people will recognise as proper boozers like The Raven and The Anvil.”
There is also a charitable element as every stand offering the free maps will have a donation box next to it for Prostate Cancer UK, a charity for which Wigan Central has raised thousands of pounds.
After the beer festival, which takes place from February 28 to March 2, the map will be reprinted and comments on new additions to the trail are welcomed.
The Wigan Ale Map is available to pick up now from all the participating pubs.