Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Belfast Ormeau Road pub owner ran up £2m debts

By Christopher Woodhouse

A bust pub and brewing machine firm has left debts of nearly £2million which cannot be repaid, Sunday Life can reveal.

The firm, Brewbot, set up by Chris McClelland in 2015, operated a popular bar of the same name on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast and produced computerised beer brewing machines.

But it collapsed last year despite having raised nearly £150,000 from a public crowd fund and £82,000 in funding from taxpayer-backed Invest NI.

Documents published on the Companies House website last week state there are no assets left to repay any of those owed money by the firm.

They say there were hopes debts could be paid from the sale of "intellectual property inherent in the brewing equipment" but no investors could be found to fund further development.

insufficient

The lease of the bar on the Ormeau Road was also transferred, to Galway Bay Brewery "at a very small premium", which now operates the Northern Lights bar in the building.

It also states the creditors are owed £1.8m but "there will be insufficient realisations to enable a dividend to any class of creditor".

The supervisor of the company voluntary arrangement concludes by recommending the company be wound up. In the year before it collapsed, the company went through tough times with developers for their "smart" beer-making machines let go and just bar staff being retained to operate the pub.

Among those owed money by the firm include Techstart NI SME, which is a part-taxpayer funded equity scheme launched by Invest NI, which gave it nearly £200,000.

Also out of pocket to the tune of over £43,000 is Brewbot's former landlord, North Down Leisure, which is run by the children of Merchant Hotel magnate Bill Wolsey.

The Dublin-based public relations firm Beach Hut is also owed nearly £20,000.

Mr McClelland could not be reached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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