New bakery rises to the challenge with early expansion

Brian McErlain, managing director at Bertie's Bakery, with the Great Taste Award winning wheaten bread

A CRAFT bakery established in south Derry just as lockdown was imposed has already doubled its number of employees - and also secured an inaugural Great Taste Award.

Bertie’s Bakery was founded in March by business and food production specialist Brian McErlain as part of a £1 million investment.

Operating from a 15,000 sq ft site at Creagh industrial park in Magherafelt, its initial head count of 10 staff has doubled to 20 while its fleet of delivery vehicles has increased from two to five.

And its year has been topped off with confirmation of a Great Taste Award for its wheaten bread with honey and yoghurt.

Brian said: “We'd been planning to open the bakery for many months when the Covid crisis hit, but rather than put everything on hold we pressed ahead, and our leap of faith has paid off, with customer and retailer response to our products and service having exceeded initial expectations.”

He added: “Henderson Retail signed up to be our first customer with an exclusive deal to supply 10 company-owned Spar and two company-owned EuroSpar stores.

“Today we are delivering to 30 company-owned Spars and a further 50 independent Spar stores across Northern Ireland.

“As a craft bakery we put great emphasis on the quality of our ingredients, on our hand-crafted approach and on our desire to produce new interpretations of old favourites, so the endorsement of a Great Taste Award within months of our launch is a real confidence-booster.”

Eamon Taggart, trading manager at the Henderson Group, said: “Since introducing Bertie’s Bakery to a select number of stores in March, we've been impressed by the quality and range of the product and the positive feedback from our retailers.

“Six months on, we're pleased to offer Bertie’s Bakery across a greater network of stores and to many more shoppers right across Northern Ireland.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Brian and his team and hope to grow the number of stores in the months ahead.”

Bertie’s Bakery range of products includes hot plate goods, baps and rolls, oven bread and scones as well as cakes, pastries and other sweet treats.

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