Saturday May 23, 2009 By Peter Jessup
Ali Williams' latest project is a bottled-water and healthy-food venture in partnership with All Black skipper Richie McCaw and teammate Dan Carter. Photo / Paul Estcourt
All Black captain Richie McCaw and teammates Dan Carter and Ali Williams are launching into the business of selling healthy food and water.
The trio are the majority shareholders in a new company, Ecopac, which has contracts to supply supermarkets and other outlets.
Their "Every One" brand of bottled water, which is taken from springs at Kawakawa north of Auckland and near Whakatane, cut and ready-to-eat containers of salad and fruit and ready-to-cook vegetables should be on shelves in a month.
It's a venture that will help stall the big-money offers the trio repeatedly receive to shift to the Northern Hemisphere. It puts their roots firmly in New Zealand and gives them a business post-rugby, said Williams.
But going into the water business also puts them up against the Pump brand, which is sold by Amatil, a subsidiary of major All Black sponsor Coca-Cola.
It is understood to have sought a meeting with the NZRU over the issue.
Williams said there was no intention to take sales from anyone else but rather to expand them by encouraging people, especially children, to eat and drink the types of foods the ABs do. He and his partners had gone through all the right contractual channels and processes with the NZRU, he said.
Often the team larrikin, the big lock told the Herald yesterday that the lure of winning a World Cup was not the reason he recently recommitted to the New Zealand Rugby Union until 2012.
"I just want to be an All Black, this year and every year. If the Cup was the motive I would have signed to 2011. Personally, I think the cup is over-rated - sure, it is a bauble, but it is playing for your country that is important," he said.
He, McCaw and Carter, who is due back from his French club sabbatical next month, expect their rugby commitments to make most demand on their time.
Williams said their focus would remain firmly on the game, but they would take part in all decisions affecting the business.
The company in Auckland is headed by Lee Wynyard, who built the "Kebabs on Queen" takeaway chain and has other large food industry ventures, plus advertising and marketing man Ronnie Crosbie, formerly with Saatchi and Saatchi in London.
Thank you Rudy for sending the link!