A Levin factory is producing a special batch of liquorice lolly with the All Black brand, coinciding with the Rugby World Cup kick-off on Friday.
RJ's Liquorice had entered into a commercial licensing relationship with the New Zealand Rugby Union and paid for the right to be associated with the brand. The new liquorice, called All Black Sort, had a distinctly coconut flavour.
General manager Derek Pickering said different colours and flavours were trialled until they were sure they had the mixture right. It was originally black and white until a decision was made to keep the same flavour and make the lolly "All Black" in colour.
He said the idea for the All Black liquorice came from a member of staff at the Levin factory, Lorna Brickland, who was a staunch All Black supporter, and in friendly banter with the CEO Tim York, who was Australian.
Pickering said there could be an opportunity to make a yellow liquorice that could appeal to Australian customers in future.
He said they were still unsure just how much demand there would be for the new line although were prepared for a make a batch in the "hundreds of thousands" if need be.
The line of liquorice would be produced for a limited time although he hoped it might expand and extend to Hurricanes or Crusaders coloured liquorice for the Super Rugby season, he said.
The relationship also included a visit from NZRU officials earlier this month who brought the Bledisloe Cup, which the All Blacks recently retained again, allowing staff at the factory to have their photos taken with it.