You’ll do well to find a man in Belfast who loves beer more than Jonny Campbell. And by loving beer I don’t mean one of those blokes who sings ‘Delilah’ into Harp cans and sleeps on park benches.
Jonny heads up the team behind Belfast’s first all singing, all dancing brewpub which combines robotic precision and human expertise to amazing effect. His passion for beer goes way back, but his decision to try and make a living out of it was fairly recent.
Prior to a conference in Oregon in 2013, Jonny and his team of app developers were ‘armchair supporters’ of craft beer.
Jonny said: “The conference was a celebration of creativity, innovation and disruption, with speakers and attendees who’d walked away from safe careers to start up their own business. It happened to be in Portland, a craft beer mecca, with over 50 breweries.”
The beer and entrepreneurship caused the lads to rethink their career paths. Upon returned home they became beer entrepreneurs.
Jonny said: “We started making homebrews as a team building exercise. Like many others I’d got a taste for craft beer through BrewDog, but like the rest of the guys I’d only dipped my toe into the world of craft beer.
“The information on how to brew was out there but pulling it all together was the tricky part. Designing apps and solving problems was our day job and we brought that through to our new hobby. That was the birth of Brewbot.”
The Brewbot app allows users to create, tweak or download recipes while the appliance offers the perfect brewing environment for anyone to brew their own beer.
The company, which started out via Kickstarter, has grown from five to 28-strong.
And now they’ve got their own pub with 10 taps on a rotating cycle featuring the best beers from around the world as well as showcasing local beers. They’ve even got beer for wine lovers.
Jonny said: “There were over 100 applicants for the bar jobs so we were able to select the best of the best – people like ourselves who have a real passion and enthusiasm for beer.
“You’ll get people coming in and asking for wine and we’re able to suggest a beer to match their taste. There’s a much wider range of flavours available than the usual suspects you get on draft in most pubs.”
In addition to the tap list they’ve over 130 bottles of beer as well as ground coffee brewed in-house. A unique line in food is on the way and you can also use the resident beer robot to create your own brew on site.
Jonny’s other favourite pubs in Belfast include The Woodworkers, The Sunflower, The Hudson and The John Hewitt. He said: “We’re a little behind in Northern Ireland but people are starting to embrace and explore different varieties of beer. There’s excellent craft beer bars like The Woodworkers and there’s now 21 breweries both operating and in the works. This is an exciting time for beer.”
Before checking out Brewbot you might want to check out this video which shows the entire construction process of the pub compressed into just over 3 minutes…