Bertie's Bakery 1

Source: Bertie’s Bakery

The new business has already signed a deal with Henderson Retail to supply 23 Spar and Eurospar stores

Former Genesis Crafty boss Brian McErlain has opened a new £1m craft bakery in Northern Ireland.

Called Bertie’s Bakery, the 15,000 sq ft site in Creagh will produce 12 ranges of freshly baked goods, including hot plate goods, baps and rolls, oven bread and scones, cakes and pastries.

Cash to launch the business came by way of a private equity fundraise.

Bertie’s Bakery has already created 10 jobs, with plans to grow headcount to 30 within the next year “despite the unprecedented circumstances”.

It has signed a deal with Henderson Retail to supply 23 company-owned Spar and Eurospar stores across Northern Ireland.

Its founder McErlain was MD of the previously family-run Genesis Crafty, aka McErlain’s Bakery, which fell into administration in 2018 and was sold in a pre-pack to Tayto CEO Paul Allen. McErlain stepped down three months after the sale - breaking the last link between his family and the business.

Bertie’s Bakery had been in the works for “many months” prior to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, McErlain said.

Despite the onset of the crisis, “we realised we had an important part to play in terms of meeting the surge in demand for fresh food products”, he added.

“It’s early days and the conditions have been challenging but initial customer and retailer response to our freshness and quality has exceeded our expectations.”