Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), Burlington, Mass., and Plano, Texas; and Polar Beverages, Worchester, Mass., jointly announced a long-term franchise agreement that will provide national distribution to Polar Seltzer sparkling seltzer waters, including Polar Seltzer'ade and SeltzerJR, across all channels through KDP's direct-store-delivery (DSD) and manufacturing network. 

Family owned and operated since 1882, Polar Seltzer is the third largest branded flavored sparkling water in the U.S., despite availability in less than 35 percent of the country, the company says, citing IRI multi-outlet and convenience channel data for the unsweetened flavored carbonated water segment for the 13 weeks ending June 28.

Polar Seltzer, Polar Seltzer'ade and Polar SeltzerJR brands come in more than 35 varieties. In the second quarter, Polar Seltzer grew retail volume and dollar sales 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively, based on IRI data. The sparkling water category grew more than 15 percent in retail dollars over the past year.

Longtime partners, Polar Beverages has manufactured and distributed key KDP brands in its Northeast territories for more than three decades. With this new agreement, KDP expands the partnership by now manufacturing, distributing and selling Polar Seltzer in the majority of its DSD footprint. Polar will continue to manufacture and distribute its sparkling water in its existing territories, as will select Polar distributors. Polar Beverages will continue to drive marketing, brand and innovation leadership.

Commenting on the agreement, Derek Hopkins, KDP chief commercial officer, stated: "Polar Seltzer is an iconic and leading brand in the Northeast, and we are eager to expand that growth across the country. The sparkling water category shows no sign of slowing down and, our already strong partnership with Polar Beverages will accelerate our ability to ensure that Polar Seltzer is available wherever consumers shop."

Ralph D. Crowley Jr., president and chief executive officer of Polar Beverages, added: "We are very proud of Polar Seltzer's 138-year heritage and independent spirit. Our expanded partnership with KDP opens a dynamic new chapter, and we look forward to sharing our family of seltzers with their unrivaled sales and distribution network."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.