Bakery to create 100 production jobs in Derry

Family-owned business started out as door-to-door bread van

A family-owned business which began life as a small home bakery plans to create 100 production jobs in its home town of Magherafelt in Co Derry as part of a £1.4 million expansion plan.

McErlain's Bakery was established in 1968 by Joseph McErlain, who sold his products door to door, and his wife Roberta who ran the bakery shop.

Today the business, which employs more than 180 people and has a turnover in the region of £20 million a year, is run by their six sons who are all bakers.

The brothers produce a range of breads and pastries under the brand name Genesis Crafty and supply to major supermarket groups from Superquinn (soon to be rebranded as Supervalu) to Sainsburys, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.

McErlain’s also provides bespoke products to major multiples which are sold under their own-label brands.


The bakery has thrived while others in small, rural towns such as Magherafelt have gone out of business.

The McErlain brothers believe their commitment to the bakery’s initial ethos and values as well as their “artisan approach” has been the reason why they have not only survived but flourished.

As part of the new government-supported £1.5 million expansion programme McErlain's wants to invest in new plant and machinery and increase its product development area.

Expand sales
Brian McErlain said: "We recognise the need to further expand our sales beyond Northern Ireland and have focused on developing new innovative products and enhancing our branding, sales and marketing in a bid to secure new export business.

The family business has received £352,000 from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development towards the planned investment and nearly £114,000 from Invest NI over the last three years to support its business.

Mid Ulster SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said the local jobs boost was very welcome in the area.

“I am delighted to see a local business with such strong roots in the community grow and flourish in such a positive way.”

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business