Galway brewery taking over Belfast Brewbot bar on Ormeau Road
by John Mulgrew
The Brewbot bar in Belfast
Belfast bar Brewbot is to be taken over by a top Irish beer bar chain and brewery, it can be revealed.
Galway Bay Brewery, which is based in Galway but runs around a dozen pubs across the Republic, could begin taking over the Ormeau Road bar within the week.
Galway Bay is one of the Republic’s top breweries. This is its first foray outside the Republic, and into Northern Ireland.
It’s thought staff working for the bar will be retained.
The news comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that Brewbot, which is a technology company and also runs the existing bar, looks set to go under after the taxman filed a petition to wind up the company.
It can now be revealed that a Belfast court is due to hear the winding-up petition, brought against it by HMRC, this Thursday.
Galway Bay Brewery helped lead the way for the craft beer scene in Ireland, and the company produces a range of its own pale ales, stouts and India pale ales (IPA).
Some of the brewery’s top beers include Of Foam and Fury — an award-winning strong, punchy, bitter 8.5% double IPA.
Aside from its own range, the brewery’s bars across Ireland stock a large range of top beers from across the UK and Ireland, Europe, and the US.
Galway Bay Brewery — which produces its beers in the west coast of Ireland city of the same name — operates 12 bars across the island.
They includes six in Dublin alone, including Brewdock — across from Connolly Station — and the Black Sheep, to the north of the River Liffey.
The brewery produces dozens of one-off beers, as well as collaborations with other producers.
One of its latest brews is a double IPA called Perfect Union, which was made along with the Nola Brewing Company, based in New Orleans.
Galway Bay will take on the bar left behind by Brewbot.
Brewbot intended selling hundreds of its wood and stainless steel ‘smart’ beer-making machines across the globe.
But following months of problems, the business could now shut down completely.
HMRC is now trying to wind up Brewbot Ltd, having made an application to the courts.
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 employed several staff, including developers, working on producing the Brewbot system itself.
The company operated its head office from the Ormeau Road pub’s top floor.
The business began its foray into the global technology industry thanks largely 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.
The company also received £82,000 in funding from Invest NI. It is now unlikely that those who invested around £2,000 on the crowd-funding platform to get their own Brewbot will ever receive a machine.
Brewbot’s concept was centred around allowing 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, which included Galway Bay Brewery.