UK-based retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has collaborated with specialist craft beer trader Real Ale develop a range of own-label craft beer and cider, as well as a lager.

The line-up includes three craft beers and two craft ciders packaged in 330ml cans, as well a British lager in a 500ml can, and will be launched across the UK in 2018.

Real Ale’s technical team works closely with small craft producers and with larger retailers to ensure they are stocked with the best products.

The M&S lager is from Norfolk-based brewer Woodforde and the craft ciders are Kentish Pip’s apple pear and apple and rhubarb varieties. The craft beers are Peterborough’s Oakham Ale’s double-hopped Citra Ale, a pale ale produced by Bristol-based Arbor Ales and Cornish St Austell Brewery’s Saison.

M&S own-label beers, ciders and lagers feature distinctive packaging designs with the name of the independent producer clearly displayed on the can.

Real Ale has ensured the breweries supplying the beer, cider and lager to M&S adhere to the retailer’s food safety, hygiene and quality requirements.

M&S beer buyer Michael Wallis said: “The 330ml can format is growing in popularity with many of our consumers wanting to purchase a chilled product on the move. Our aim is to offer customers the best selection of own-label cans, alongside our diverse branded line-up, with the convenience of buying great British beers and ciders from their local M&S store.”

Real Ale managing director Zeph King said: “This exciting own-label canned range further demonstrates M&S’ credentials as an innovator in the craft beer and cider sectors. The progressive styles, inventive use of flavours and the new brands are testament to the retailer’s commitment to both its own consumers and Britain’s smaller breweries. M&S customers gain access to unusual, often hard to source, products, while small craft breweries and cider producers get a massive boost.

“Several of the producers’ businesses have grown thanks to M&S support, including artisan cider producer Kentish Pip, it will also be the first time that Norfolk-based brewery Woodforde’s will have a lager, with a national in-store presence”.

Real Ale has been a supplier to M&S for 11 years, during which it helped the retailer to source craft alcoholic beverages from smaller producers both nationally and internationally.