|Pies, pints and prohibition!
WIGAN'S branch of the Campaign For Real Ale will raise a glass to the end of prohibition as part of this year's Wigan Food and Drink Festival.
Friday March 22 is the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in the USA.
And this year's Wigan CAMRA Beer Festival will be marking the time when the ban was lifted by savouring the sip of some of the finest real ales around, in keeping with the spirit of responsible drinking.
The 26th CAMRA Beer Festival runs from Thursday 28 February until Saturday 2 March and marks the start of this year's Wigan Food and Drink Festival which ends on March 10.
With more than 100 different tipples to try, it's a fitting tribute to the time when the historic US ban on alcohol finally came to an end.
Congress passed the National Prohibition (Volstead) Act in October 1919. The Act effectively banned the sale of alcohol, but what it really did was drive drinking underground.
By 1925, in the State of New York alone, there were an estimated 100,000 illegal 'Speakeasy' drinking clubs.
Prohibition also created a rampant illegal trading market with gangsters such as Al Capone profiteering. Indeed Mr Capone himself said of the Act: "Prohibition has caused nothing but trouble".
It finally came to an end on March 22, 1933, when President Roosevelt signed a further Act repealing prohibition.
This year's CAMRA Wigan Beer Festival will see Wigan's Robin Park Indoor Sports Arena become the borough's very own speakeasy for a packed programme of tasting and entertainment.
Brian Hepworth, CAMRA Festival organiser says: "The Wigan Beer Festival is a real highlight of the year for many people across the North West and this year's will be no exception. We've got more than 60 real ales, 35 ciders and whole host of foreign beers for people to try.
"It's a chance to appreciate the art and craft of brewing and to celebrate a real homegrown success story.
"As well as the beer there'll be great food, fun and a packed programme of live music. This is one event you really don't want to miss."
Food and Drink Festival organiser Keith Bergman, from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) said: "With all that's on offer there's sure to be something to suit everyone's palette at the festival. Of course the beer festival is all about celebrating the real art of good beer and we're all about promoting responsible drinking. If Prohibition taught us anything then it must be that the old adage - everything in moderation - still rings true."
Last year's Wigan Beer Festival was a record-breaker. More than 4,000 people supped their way through more than 20,000 pints which firmly placed the event as one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
This year's Beer Festival and the wider Food and Drink Festival is being supported by that other hometown favourite - Poole's Pies.
The festival aims to recognise the culinary delights of the pastry-wrapped meal and to celebrate the ultimate partnership of pie and pint.
Poole's Pies Chief Executive Neil Court-Johnston said: "Great food and great beer on the same menu, it really doesn't get any better than this!
"We're really proud to be supporting the Beer Festival and the Food and Drink Festival. Wigan is famed for its pies and the borough has a long tradition of appreciating a decent pint.
"At Poole's we believe in celebrating everything that is great about what we produce locally and this is the ideal opportunity. So let's commemorate the lifting of the ban with our own feast of food and drink!"
The Wigan Food and Drink Festival runs from Thursday February 28 until Sunday March 10. To find out more visit Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust's website: www.wlct.org
Wigan Food and Drink Festival would not be possible without the support of local businesses and organisations including Euromark, Poole's Pies, Patak's, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Wigan Council, Metrofresh, Rigalettos Italian Restaurant, Ellsey's and Co, Grand Arcade, Fiswal, Lancashire Publications and Standish Media Services.