Family-Run Akureyri Bakery Celebrates Centennial Skip to content

Family-Run Akureyri Bakery Celebrates Centennial

The bakery Brauðgerðin in Akureyri, north Iceland, which locals usually refer to as Kristjánsbakarí, was founded by Kristján Jónsson in 1912. Today, as the bakery celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is still run by the same family.


Archive photo by Páll Kjartansson.

“We have debunked the theory that the third generation bankrupts everything,” Birgir Snorrason, Kristján’s grandson who operates Kristjánsbakarí with his brother Kjartan, commented to Morgunblaðið.

Their father Snorri took over the operation in 1958. The interest in baking seems to run in the family because all of Snorri’s four sons are educated in baking.

In the 100-year history of Kristjánsbakarí, Birgir said industrialization was the greatest factor of change. “Granddad had to close the bakery for 11 months in 1918 because he couldn’t obtain any coals for the ovens. They were rationalized for heating at the time.”

“The greatest improvement was the arrival of electricity. Then everything could be processed much quicker with the aid of machines,” Birgir added.

Economic fluctuations have left their mark on the company’s operations in the past 100 years. “Naturally there have been difficult periods such as when inflation is high and the banking collapse. However, we’ve always managed to weather the storm and have kept the same identification number from the start,” Birgir said. “We are currently facing an uphill path but we are going up.”

Halldór Örn, Kjartan’s son, is also an educated baker, so the fourth generation of the family may one day take over the operations. “We are still young so we’re not about to retire any time soon,” Birgir said of himself and his brother.

“But our kids have all worked at the bakery during summer and alongside school so they all know the business, although Halldór is the only one who studied it,” Birgir concludes.

Brauðgerðin is the second-oldest company in Iceland that has been run by the same family since its establishment. The oldest is the watchmaker’s Michelsen in Reykjavík, which was founded in 1909.


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