On his blog beer writer Pete Brown considers the way supermarkets sell beer and gives an interesting inside view of how M&S came to develop its range of own-label beers and ciders. Significantly M&S is being up front about where the beers and ciders have come from. Typically supermarkets keep the origins of their own-brand ranges well hidden and in some cases the breweries involved in producing own-brand beer are probably quite relieved about that. This time though it seems there is real quality. It would be nice to think that other supermarkets will follow suit in selling on quality and thoughtful selection rather than simply on price:
We recommended to M&S that if they wanted to be taken seriously there had to be a big enough range to allow people to browse and make an informed choice. We suggested a diversity of styles, with plenty of information for people on what the style was, what it tasted like, with a food matching recommendation on the back. M&S felt strongly that apart from beer style, the range should be organised according to provenance – each beer taking the lead on where it came from. They made a commitment to source each of the beers from the place it said it actually came from. [Link]
Thanks to The Ormskirk Baron for the tip.