Olympic legend Usain Bolt gives Birmingham baker a boost

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Usain Bolt thanked Birmingham after winning gold for his 200m sprint
Usain Bolt thanked Birmingham after winning gold for his 200m sprint
Supplying food for Usain Bolt and the Jamaican Olympic team has given Birmingham-based Sunrise Bakery “a massive PR boost”.

One week before the games began, Usain Bolt and the Jamaican Olympic team ate Sunrise Bakery’s Caribbean-style cake at a pre-Olympic gala dinner.

The Caribbean specialist baker supplied the three-tier cake decorated with the Jamaican flag that formed the centrepiece display at the pre-Olympics gala dinner held in July.

The firm also baked 80 Paradise Estates cakes as a welcome gift to the team. The cake is soaked with Wray & Nephew rum, which is a popular brand of white rum in the Caribbean.

Errol Drummond, md of Sunrise Bakery, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “There’s always been a strong association with Birmingham and Jamaica. It was a tremendous coup for the city to host the Jamaican team, so I thought we should make them feel welcome.”

Fellow sprinter, Yohan Blake (pictured above, right), liked the baker’s food so much he asked for more supplies to be sent to the Olympic village in London.

“They enjoyed our products so much their chef also asked us to supply them with Caribbean-style breads to supplement the food they had at the Olympic village while they were in training,”​ said Drummond.

Drummond said he could not have bought the level of exposure that supplying the Jamaican Olympic team has generated.

Massive PR

“This has given us a massive amount of PR,” ​he  said. “You couldn’t pay for this level of exposure. We’ve had calls from all over the UK and around the world from people wanting to know more about our products.

“Think how much McDonald’s paid for its Olympic sponsorship. And we’re just a small bakery in the West Midlands.”

Drummond is now working to maximise this exposure and translate it into sales.

“We’re developing a link with the Jamaican track and field team,”​ said Drummond. “It’s early days, but we’re hoping to use this to target a premium marketplace.”

Getting its foot in the door as an Olympic supplier was no easy feat for Sunrise. When Drummond discovered the athletes were using the University of Birmingham as their training ground, he approached the organisation.

“It was very difficult to start with,”​ said Drummond. “Until they realised we are the premier Caribbean baker in the country.”

Established in 1996, Sunrise Bakery was set up to cater for the rapidly growing Caribbean population in and around Birmingham and the Black Country.

Bolt thanks Birmingham

After winning his second gold medal of the 2012 Olympics for his 200m final sprint on August 9, Bolt paid tribute to his hosts in Birmingham.

“Birmingham people, you guys take care of us. We have to give you all the respect Birmingham.”

Speaking of his Birmingham hosts, Bolt said: “They were extremely great to us,​ [showed] us a lot of love and thank you guys."

To see Bolt giving thanks to Birmingham, click here​.

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