View Full Version : General Metalworking The worlds first beer elevator

Benoit Aigret
12-09-2015, 7:06 PM
Hi Guys,

I would like to share a project with you I did some time ago. I'm from Belgium, which you might know has quite a large beer culture. As such, it's not suprising we have the worlds largest beer café (in selection, not size)
The owner had the crazy (or genious?) idea to start a bar with a selection of 3000 beers. In order to stock all of the bottles, the whole basement was transformed into a giant cooler (with different temperatures suiting the appropriate beers)
Off course, this meant that he had to get those bottles up to the serving level.

That's where I came in.

In order to carry the bottles I constructed a giant metal beer lift. It consists of a 2 inch chain on a two foot gear, which carry the metal carriages in which custom wooden trays can be placed by the order pickers in the basement so they can be transported to the people behind the bar on the ground floor. What's really funny is that the floor of the bar has glass tiles in the floor, so you can see the basement. The order pickers that work there are dressed as elves, looking through the beer selection filling the trays for the customers (reminds me of the umpa lumpas :D)



The whole project start to finish was completed in only 2 weeks from the initial sketch to finishing. Let's just say I didn't manage to get a lot a sleep those days, as I was fighting quite a heavy deadline. The decorative center piece was designed on the computer (never did any digital drawing before :p) and then cut with a water jet. The trays swivel on custom made pins with bearings that replaced some of the original connecting pins on the chain.
This thing really is a beast. You might think it's heavily overbuild but I think you just wouldn't get the same industrial look if I had just used some smaller chain. Would have been a lot easier though. I'm quite strong but I can barely lift half the chain on my own. The main gear needs two guys minimum to lift it and rides on 4 ball bearings all on the back side of the gear.
The whole construction is carried by a steel frame because I couldn't trust the old walls of the building to carry the load. One must not only consider the weight but also the tension on the chain.

Time has proven the machine to be working perfectly for 2 years straight working probaly up to 18-20 hours a day. I do a biannual maintenance of greasing everyting and checking all the bearings etc. We had a lot of press attention
I had a lot of pictures of the construction phases but they are currently stuck on my broken smartphone. I'll post them once I get it repaired.

Feel free to leave me some questions and comments, I'll be glad to hear them.



Benoit Aigret
12-09-2015, 7:50 PM
I managed to find some backup from my old phone that had the progress pictures

Jebediah Eckert
12-09-2015, 9:37 PM
Way cool. I'd love to come visit someday and put it to work!

Ted Calver
12-09-2015, 11:53 PM
That's an amazing piece of work, Benoit. Congratulations on a great job. Now tell the truth. How many of the 3000 beers have you sampled so far??:D

Benoit Aigret
12-10-2015, 4:29 AM
thanks! I have lost count Ted ;)

Benoit Aigret
12-10-2015, 4:33 AM
You can find a video of the machine in action here

Don Orr
01-13-2016, 4:18 PM
That's fantastic! Beautiful work on a functional piece of art. And congratulations on finding your passion and making it work for you.

Belgian beer rocks!

Scott T Smith
01-13-2016, 6:01 PM
Very, very cool!

Mary Ma
01-24-2016, 5:59 AM
Inspiring ! Congratulations!

Art Mann
01-24-2016, 1:28 PM
That is just beautiful iron work. I completely agree that the overbuilt machinery is just perfect for that application. Classy!

Bradley Gray
01-26-2016, 10:26 AM
Beautiful work! Makes me thirsty....

Curt Harms
01-27-2016, 9:14 AM
The owner had the crazy (or genious?) idea to start a bar with a selection of 3000 beers.

I vote for genius - on both your parts. Functional art, excellent.

Malcolm Schweizer
03-17-2016, 5:55 AM
This is so amazing that I haven't proper words to express it. Bravo!!!

Mike Cashman
11-07-2016, 8:37 PM
Outstanding craftsmanship Benoit! The beer lift is an fine example of Industrial Elegance at it's best.
And your shop looks great. Keep up the great work.

erik wiederholtz
11-20-2016, 1:36 PM
Hi Benoit,
In the pictures you posted of the bar with you having a drink with someone next to you. That gentlemen looks very familiar. Does he design special lighting for large venues? I swear I have met him before. If not he has a twin who I meant in China this year while traveling for work.
By the way I brew beer and this machine is awesome. The work is fantastic!