Rugby fans will make a bit of history at tomorrow's Maddison Trophy club rugby final at McLean Park in Napier as they try new local brew Hawke's Bay Lager as it hits the market for the first time.
From the can with the Magpies' iconic black and white hoops, its seed was sown in a meeting several months ago between Hawke's Bay Rugby commercial manager Dan Somerville met with cider producers Charley and Jack Crasborn, of Three Wise Birds, a Hastings garden bar that partnered with the Magpies last year.
It was mentioned that Three Wise Birds would love to one day brew a beer, followed up by Somerville's next round, of door-knocking, and offer to partner in as HBRU dreamed of serving fans a beer from a black and white can.
"We have had the idea of producing a unique can for Magpies games for years now but it's never been possible" said Somerville. "It's a great opportunity to partner with a local family business who are as passionate about our province and the Magpies as they are of producing quality cider and now also beer"
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A major part of the initiative was to support the rugby union with 10 cents from every can sold through various supermarkets, bottle stores and local bars which will provide the rugby union with extra funds for investment into the local game.
"We are very excited to partner with Hawkes Bay Rugby and the Magpies," said Charley Crasborn. "We have grown up as passionate supporters of rugby in Hawke's Bay and the opportunity to enter into this unique venture with the Union is one we are very proud to be a part of."
It's not the first time "Hawke's Bay" has been on the side of a beer can, Lion Breweries having once produced a Hawke's Bay Draught for some years as it tried to spread provincial loyalties in the wake of the success of Canterbury Draught on the back of the success of Canterbury rugby teams in the 1980s.