Ulster Bank Entrepreneurial Spark businesses achieve Blockchain ‘world-first’

Ulster Bank Entrepreneurial Spark businesses achieve Blockchain ‘world-first’

Two innovative Northern Ireland companies from Ulster Bank’s Entrepreneurial Spark Hub have put a new craft brew on a Blockchain platform.

Lynsey Cunningham, Ulster Bank; with Brendan Smyth, left, arc-net; and Liam Brogan, right, Ireland Craft Beers with the new Downstream beer.

Lynsey Cunningham, Ulster Bank; with Brendan Smyth, arc-net (left); and Liam Brogan, Ireland Craft Beers (right) with the new Downstream beer.

A world-first has been achieved by two Northern Ireland businesses that were brought together by the Ulster Bank-powered Entrepreneurial Spark hub in Belfast.

Ireland Craft Beers and technology firm arc-net have collaborated to create a new beer brand that will be placed on a Blockchain platform; the first time this has been done anywhere in the world. This will enable consumers to fully trace the product’s ingredients from source.

arc-net has uniquely marked and authenticated each bottle of new brew ‘Downstream IPL’, allowing full traceability of each bottle through the brewery and the supplier network. Consumers can access this information by scanning a QR smart code on the label; they are then taken to an online experience that allows them to uniquely identify every single bottle produced.


Ireland Craft Beers has already secured a listing for the new beer on Honest Brew, an online craft beer store, as well as with a major multi-national retailer that is expected to stock the beer in more than 400 stores across the UK.

Liam Brogan, Co-Founder and Director of Ireland Craft Beers, said: “More than ever, consumers want to know where their food and drink comes from, so capturing and sharing production, process and product data with customers is central to having a brand that is trusted and respected. Consumers want transparency, they want authenticity, and Blockchain enables that.”

Lynsey Cunningham, Entrepreneurial Development Manager at Ulster Bank, said: “Ireland Craft Beers and arc-net came together through their involvement with Entrepreneurial Spark, and are demonstrating the power of collaboration. This is an innovative venture that has the potential to bring real change to how consumers engage with information about the products they buy.”

Powered by Ulster Bank, the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery in Belfast provides free space for up to 80 entrepreneurs, with hands-on mentoring, a ‘bootcamp’ for business planning, and a free programme of up to 18-months of advice, support and expert workshops. Find out more on the Entrepreneurial Spark website.

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