Teries having a ball after much-missed mints make comeback

The rebranding of a type of peppermint which has tickled the tastebuds of Hawick residents for generations has been given a warm welcome by sweet-toothed Teries.

Robbie Pringle with his new consignment of Hawick Balls.
Robbie Pringle with his new consignment of Hawick Balls.

Hawick Balls were made famous by late rugby commentator Bill McLaren as he seized every opportunity he could to enthuse about the boiled sweets named after the town he loved and lived in.

For several weeks, though, there was consternation in the town as they were nowhere to be found.

That was down to a redesign of the tins they come in carried out by their Inverclyde-based manufacturer, the Golden Casket Group.

A new-look tin of Hawick Balls.

On the suggestion of Hawick Tartan Company managing director Robin Deas, the new design incorporates the town’s traditional tartan, and that was what caused an unexpected delay to deliveries.

Last week, though, the first new-look tins were finally delivered to retailers, prompting much celebration.

One of the first shops to have those supplies land was Robbie Pringle Fresh Food Produce at 77 High Street.

A spokesman for the shop said: “It’s great to have them back. We didn’t have them for the two months before Christmas and the customers were missing them.

“We would normally buy eight cases at a time, each case containing 12 of the tins, and when I called up to order them, they just said they didn’t have any at the time and that they were producing a new tin.

“Since they came back in last week, we have been selling quite a few.”

Sandra Fisher, sales and marketing director at Greenock’s Golden Casket Group, said: “Robin Deas contacted us sometime ago with the hope of using the real Hawick tartan on our tins and the opportunity arose last year.

“The tins look amazing and so traditional. I think it is a lovely partnership and makes the tins more authentic.”

Hawick provost Watson McAteer has welcomed the tinned sweet’s return.

He said: “They are a firm favourite and a great gift that is regularly presented to visitors to the town. I remember buying them in Hill’s Howegate shop over 50 years ago.

“I had been aware they had been hard to find in recent weeks and welcome that they are now back on our shelves with new livery.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall is also glad to see the confectionery favourite back, saying: “I’m a great fan of the sweet, and it’s been quite annoying not to be able to get my hands on a tin for some weeks.

“I’m sure townsfolk will be chuffed they are now back with a new design.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson added: “It was actually one of the boys that I went to school with that used to produce them, and I remember that rugby commentator Bill McLaren used to take them to matches when he was working for the BBC.

“They have been really missed and it is a relief for me and townsfolk that they are back in stock again.”