Majestic Wine is ramping up its craft beer offer at a national and local level as demand for trendy booze surges.

The retailer has challenged store managers to source local brews in a bid to “separate Majestic from the major players”, a spokesman told The Grocer, with an ambition for each store to offer at least 10 local or international craft beers.

“We’re challenging our store teams to find the styles that work for their customers,” he added. “Giving our managers autonomy over the lines they stock will help to drive the independent and local angle that sits at the heart of the craft movement.”

Craft beer accounts for 29% of beer sales at Majestic, and has played an important role in “helping develop our overall customer base”, the spokesman said.

The retailer has already added over 100 local beers to stores over the past year, as well as rolling out 15 national craft beer lines across its estate over the past six months.

“We’ve also introduced beers that have done well at a local level and rolled them out nationally, like Stone and Wood Pacific Ale, Black Isle (organic beer from the north of Scotland) and Bibble from The Wild Beer Company,” the spokesman added.

Majestic also plans to further bolster its own-label wine offer over the coming year, according to wine buying and merchandising Richard Weaver, having launched a new entry-level range, called Majestic Loves, across 210 stores in April.

“Consumer response has been good, so this is definitely a focus you can expect to see from us increasing - own label now constitutes 4.7% of sales in the UK, up from a base of pretty much 0% 18 months ago.”

Gin was also becoming a key focus for the retailer, sales of the spirit having surged 108% for the year ending 3 April 2017, he said.

It comes as Majestic yesterday claimed it was “past the tipping point” of its turnaround, despite its full year results revealing it had slipped into the red with a pre-tax loss of £1.5m on £4.7m profit.

Despite this, the company was “executing its strategy through a more disciplined use of cash, which should drive better returns”, said Liberum analyst Wayne Brown. “This should allay concerns that growth is the only consideration and we feel we may be entering into a period of improved earnings visibility.”