First brewpub to open in Belfast - as Brewbot raises a glass to Northern Ireland's growing thirst for craft beers
The Belfast team behind a robot beer brewing system is to open the city's first brewpub, it can be revealed.
And the Brewbot team - headed by 33-year-old entrepreneur Chris McClelland - is creating at least 10 new jobs with the new venture.
It's cashing in on Northern Ireland's growing thirst for better beer, taking over the former Tilt bar on the Ormeau Road and selling its own beer brewed using the innovative system, alongside around 10 rotating tap beers from across the globe, as well as bottled varieties.
Brewbot Belfast will open its doors to the public next week. Mr McClelland, chief executive of the technology firm, which recently secured an additional £1m in funding towards its mobile phone app and brewing robot system, told the Belfast Telegraph the new project was "taking a different approach".
The firm's product allows beer brewers to take a lot of the complexities out of the process using a smartphone app.
"Brewbot has had a great amount of success, and we'd been brewing beer and taking it to events," he said.
"This new bar will allow people to test our beer. It's about Brewbot and bringing people good beer.
"We found this building and loved the space. Our approach is an interesting one.
"Over time we are going to be scaling up the amount of our own beer that we will be producing."
Brewbot began its foray into the global technology industry thanks to crowd-funding.
It raised more than £114,000 in one month through Kickstarter.
The firm's ambitious high street beer venture is being headed up by general manager Lisa Maltman and Jonny Campbell. The bar will cover two floors and boast modern and contemporary styling - designed by architect John Busteed, who also helped create the National bar.
"There will be about 10 staff, and recruitment is ongoing. The company itself is growing everywhere and it's all a bit crazy," Mr McClelland said.
Brewbot has recently taken on some top tech talent, including a former employee at Tesla in San Francisco, as well as a senior brewer to bring its beer creations to life.
"It's an interesting angle on a bar. We are here to learn and help inform. We also want lots of feedback from our customers."
Brewbot Belfast will add food to the business in the coming weeks and months. And it will also sell a raft of interesting ales from across the world, including Founders and Left Hand from the US, as well as those produced much closer to home.
"Bars like the Woodworkers in Belfast are doing a fantastic job, and it's great to see," said Mr McClelland.
"And it's great to see our friends at Boundary in east Belfast doing so well, and all that is happening in brewing across Northern Ireland.
"Brewbot was born out of having a few beers in a bar, and that could be said for lots of companies. We want people to experience that in our bar."