Custom package pre-release version numbers

Hi all,
I am building my own packages for openwrt and publish them in my own feed and opkg repository.
For my git repository where I maintain them, I use a develop/release/master workflow. So when I make my own package, even though the source code (PKG_VERSION) doesn't change (from an external source), I still would like to make different pre-release version of the package, to show that a specific PKG_RELEASE is not final yet. From the docs I read that PKG_RELEASE needs to be an incrementing integer. So is there no way to have some kind of prerelease distinction in there? The semantic versioning spec has a possibility for it where for instance 1.0.0-dev1 < 1.0.0 and 1.0.0-beta1 < 1.0.0 because -dev1 and -beta1 are "prerelease" numbers. I know I can just constantly increment the PKG_RELEASE number, but that would hide the fact that some PKG_RELEASE numbers may be unstable dev versions, while others are stable versions. Does anyone have a practical solution for this?