Rockstar Energy Drink has signed a distribution deal with PepsiCo's bottlers in North America, ending its contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises.

As part of the deal, announced today (19 February), Rockstar will be distributed by
The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), PepsiAmericas, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and other independent Pepsi-Cola bottlers in most of the US and all of Canada.

While precise terms of the contract were not disclosed, PepsiCo has purchased rights to become master distributor, offering Rockstar products exclusively through its bottling system in all trade channels.

Rockstar will retain research-and-development, marketing and manufacturing responsibilities for the brand.

Rockstar is the third largest energy drink by sales in the US. Previous distributor Coca-Cola Enterprises has joined its parent firm The Coca-Cola Co to sign distribution rights for Monster Energy in several US states. Monster is number two on the market.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Mark Swartzberg said today he believes "hand to hand combat" in the energy drinks segment is about to get "more intense".

However, the analyst said he expects category price levels to hold up and for Monster to continue its "multi-year path" of growing share in the "high-margin, growing energy drinks segment".

Hugh Johnston, president of Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, said: "Rockstar is a major milestone in our bid to become the undisputed category leader in energy drinks."  

"Building on the success of AMP and other energy drinks in the Pepsi lineup, it gives our system an immediate boost in value, variety and scale."