Winding-up order against Belfast beer tech firm Brewbot
Belfast beer-making robot technology firm Brewbot looks set to go under after the taxman filed a petition to wind up the company, it can be revealed.
The firm, whose sole director is founder Chris McClelland, intended selling hundreds of its wood and stainless steel 'smart' beer-making machines across the globe.
But following months of problems, the business, which also operates a Brewbot bar on the Ormeau Road, could now shut down completely.
HMRC is now trying to wind up the company - which trades as Brewbot Ltd - having made an application to the courts.
This week, the bar was still open and trading.
The business has been going through tough times in the last 12 months, with the workforce now largely consisting of just the company's bar staff.
Brewbot had employed several staff, including developers, working on producing the Brewbot system itself.
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However, it is understood they are no longer with the company.
Brewbot had operated its head office from the Ormeau Road pub's top floor.
Brewbot began its foray into the global technology industry thanks to crowd-funding.
It raised over £114,000 in one month through Kickstarter.
It also secured £1m from a range of investors as part of a round of seed funding.
And the company also received £82,000 in funding from Invest NI.
It now means it is unlikely those who invested around £2,000 on the crowd-funding platform to get their own Brewbot will ever receive a machine.
Just a small number of Brewbots have been produced, with several having been made upstairs in the bar.
In an update to investors last year, the company said pre-orders for the products had started. However, the unit's costs had sky-rocketed to almost $10,000 (£7,800).
"To thank you for waiting we are opening up orders to you first and we're offering 25 units with $5,000 (£3,900) off the launch price," the update also said.
Brewbot's concept allows beer brewers to take a lot of the complexities out of the process by using a mobile smartphone app.
The company had previously worked with some major tech talent, including a former employee at Tesla in San Francisco and a senior brewer.
It also linked up with top breweries, including Russian River in the US and the Galway Bay Brewery in the Republic.
Founder Chris McClelland told the Belfast Telegraph he did not wish to comment.
HMRC said that it does not comment on individual cases.