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Endion Station hosts robot barkeep

Cory Lindsholm of Minneapolis uses a wand to control a robot bartender on display at Jacq Frost in Duluth Friday afternoon. The robot can scoop cans of beer out of a tank of water and will be at Endion Station today for the launch of Brewhouse beer in cans. --- Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

Walking into Jacq Frost on a warm day in Canal Park, patrons expect to see all the different flavors of frozen yogurt they can choose from and not a beer-slinging robot. But on Friday night that's exactly what they were treated to.

Felix, a robot created by artificial intelligence company Aitheon, was set up at Jacq Frost for people to try out for themselves. It was there promoting a Fitger's Brewhouse release party Saturday.

Felix is set up to be controlled by a person to scoop beer out of a tub of water, but that's not the only thing he is capable of. Felix has other attachments, including an arm that can pour beer from a tap and a 21-option liquor dispenser for mixed drinks. It can even learn to make food.

Rod Raymond, owner of Fitger's Brewhouse and Endion Station, has decided to become a beta tester for Aitheon.

"We are going to be guinea pigs for these things as they roll out to the world. It's going to be fun to see how that plays out," Raymond said. "The marketing piece is fun, but at the end of the day the real story is how does it look for businesses in the future that just can't find cooks."

Andrew Archer, creator and CEO of Aitheon, has known Raymond for many years, and while discussing the challenges Raymond faces with his business they decided he would be a perfect candidate to be a beta tester for Aitheon.

"Our software platform can also handle the business's accounting, payroll, time management, tasking and can automatically order things that are needed," Archer said. "So it really allows the business owner to step back, save a ton of money on human capital and have a better life. So that's really our focus, to allow them to get back to better business."

Brewhouse is hosting a release party Saturday from 3-10 p.m. at Endion Station for its Apricot Wheat and Superior Trail IPA, which is being distributed in cans for the first time. People who come out can purchase the beer and use Felix to retrieve it.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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