Bertie’s Bakery, the craft bakery, launch of which coincided with lockdown in March 2020, has defied all the challenges presented by the pandemic to celebrate significant success in its first year.
Representing an investment of £1million, Bertie’s Bakery was set up by business and food production specialist, Brian McErlain, at Creagh Industrial Park, just outside Magherafeltin county Derry.
Over the past twelve months, the company has more than doubled its workforce to 26 employees, expanded its customer stores from 12 to 104 and increased its delivery vans from two to six. Its first anniversary is also being marked with a brand makeover and the launch of an additional 35 new products with a focus on cakes.
Brian McErlain explains, “In March last year, we took a giant leap of faith by entering an already crowded bakery market during an uncertain and unsettling time for business. We made the positive decision that our new bakery could play an important part in answering a need for a potential surge in demand for fresh products. Our twin goals were to achieve stand-out and swiftly gain a reputation for the quality and taste of our products.
“To that end and focusing on handcrafted and hand finished methods we assembled a highly skilled team of bakers. That team has been further enhanced this month with the recruitment of two additional master bakers joining us from Hyndman’s Bakery. Geoff Lee and Nigel Chambers together bring over 50 years of baking expertise to the company with particular skills in soda farl production and will make a significant contribution to our desire to produce both traditional products and new interpretations of old favourites.
“From day one we have also sought customer feedback which has helped to refine and modify our products to make them the best they can be. With a Great Taste Award presented to us in October for our wheaten bread with honey and yogurt, that attention to detail is being rewarded and the products are making their mark. As a result, we have given the Bertie’s Bakery brand a fresh new look to add vibrancy and enhance shelf stand-out.
“We have also introduced an additional 35 products, including new cake varieties to further broaden our appeal across the grocery sector.
“It has been a remarkable first year and we are delighted that despite the pandemic, we forged ahead and launched the company. We are particularly grateful to Henderson Wholesale who supported our start up and to the many other store owners who have since come on board.”
“Customer and retailer response to our products and service has exceeded expectations and we are looking forward to further development and growth in our second year,” added Mr McErlain.
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. The new range of 22 cakes features cake slices, traybakes and sharing slabs, which include a Biscoff and Nutella Tiffin and a Peanut Butter Brownie.