Real Ale helps the multi-national retailer source a range of beer from smaller craft and regional brewers nationally.
Two new products have now been added to the range in cans. Harbour Brewing Company, from Cornwall, is supplying its Laid Back Lager in 330m cans, while Oakham’s Citra IPA, from Peterborough, will now be sold in 500ml cans, as well as bottles.
Real Ale is also working with M&S on expanding its regional branded range throughout its stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Craft beer brands that will be carried include Metalman, in Ireland, and Whitewater Brewery, in Northern Ireland.
Real Ale’s technical team works closely with the individual craft brewers on the choice of hops, selection of malts and production of tasting notes, as well as beer brands to pitch to M&S.
The Real Ale team also ensure that all breweries are operating to M&S standards for food safety, hygiene and quality, and have robust systems of due diligence in place, which protects M&S brand integrity.
Zeph King (pictured), managing director of Real Ales, said: “It’s fantastic to work with a major multiple that puts quality and new product development at the heart of its business and wants the best selection within their beer range, at the same time as supporting local craft brewers.
“The boost it gives smaller brewers to have their brands sold through M&S is brilliant and enables M&S customers to enjoy an unusual and excellent selection of products.”
Michael Wallis, beer buyer for M&S, added: “Our mission is to become not only the best craft beer retailer on the high street, but to also offer more innovative local beers from smaller breweries, with the convenience of buying them from your local M&S store.”
M&S has been recognised by industry for its range, being named multi-national beer retailer of the year on two occasions, in recognition of its excellent craft beer ranges sourced from small independent breweries. Real Ale supplies more than 200 branded and own-label products to M&S and has been key in the introduction of the M&S craft cans range.