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Bertie’s Bakery expands and picks up awards in first six months

Brian McErlain, managing director, Berties Bakery with the Great Taste Wheaten Bread.

Bertie’s Bakery, the craft bakery launched at the same time as lockdown in March, is reporting an exceptional first six months in business, doubling its employees, expanding sales across Northern Ireland and winning a Great Taste award.

Representing an investment of £1m, Bertie’s Bakery was set up by business and food production specialist Brian McErlain at Creagh Industrial Park, just outside Magherafelt.

“We had been planning to open the bakery for many months when the Covid-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown came into effect,” said McErlain.

“But rather than put everything on hold we decided that the new bakery could actually play an important part in terms of meeting the surge in demand for fresh products.

“I am very pleased to report that our leap of faith has paid off and that customer and retailer response to our products and service has exceeded initial expectations.”

The bakery operates from a 15,000-square-foot site and produces a full range of freshly-baked goods. The initial head count of staff has doubled to 20 and the number of delivery vehicles has increased from two to five.

“Henderson Retail signed up to be the company’s first customer with an exclusive deal to supply 10 company owned SPAR stores and two company-owned EUROSPARs,” said McErlain. “Today we are delivering to 30 company-owned SPAR stores and a further 50 independently owned SPAR stores located across Northern Ireland.

“As a craft bakery we put great emphasis on the quality of our ingredients, on our handcrafted approach and on our desire to produce new interpretations of old favourites. The news that we had won a Great Taste award for our wheaten bread with honey and yoghurt was a really special achievement so early in our business.

“These prestigious awards are regarded as the stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike and are judged purely on taste with no regard for branding or packaging. Such an endorsement within months of our launch is a real boost of confidence going forward.”

Eamon Taggart, trading manager at the Henderson Group, said: “Since introducing Bertie’s Bakery to a select number of stores in March of this year, we have been impressed by the quality and range of the products supplied and the positive feedback from our retailers. Six months later we are pleased to offer Bertie’s Bakery across a greater network of stores and to many more shoppers right across Northern Ireland.

“We are always looking to showcase fresh new products and we know our customers are passionate about supporting local suppliers, such as Bertie’s Bakery. 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 wells as cakes, pastries and other sweet treats.

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