On Sunday morning stacks of crates of the bubbly drink were positioned near one of the two front entrances at the Star Market off McGrath Highway in Somerville.
By that evening, the stock had been mostly depleted, and only a few dozen one-liter bottles remained.
The bottles of Polar Seltzer’s newest flavor, “Unicorn Kisses,” like the mythical creatures themselves, were nowhere to be found the next morning.
People from across the state are invading grocery stores to stock up on the limited edition flavor released by the Worcester-based company last week, filling the trunks of their cars and piling the bottles high into their shopping carts. (In the interest of full disclosure: this reporter also purchased a few liters).
According to officials from Polar Seltzer, only 5,000 cases of the beverage have been released leading up to April 1, or April Fools’ Day, adding to the mystique and desire to scoop up the product. It’s been said that it tastes like “sparkling rainbows” — and it does, if you think that rainbows taste like a combination of bubble gum and taffy.
Erin Mary R. Ackerman, a recruiter in Boston, drove from her house in North Andover to Somerville’s Star Market to grab some.
When she arrived Sunday night, she purchased the last of the bottles.
“I think it’s just a fun thing and everyone wants to find it and give it to their friends and family,” Ackerman said of the blitz to buy the drinks. “It really just tastes like unicorn kisses. It’s magical.”
The bottles feature a re-imagined logo, with a unicorn horn added to the seltzer company’s iconic polar bear mascot. On the side of each drink, the company offers a cheeky explanation about how the beverage came to be.
“Once upon a time, our great-grandfather arrived in New England with a pocket full of rainbows,” the description reads. “Each night he searched Wachusett Mountain for a place to hide his treasure. Then, one eve he came upon a unicorn that was crying. He said ‘don’t be sad, for I will give you my rainbows.’ In return, the creature blew a kiss and filled the man’s bottle with a sparkle, called seltzer.”
It’s all part of a clever marketing campaign for the prank-prone holiday.
The bottles’ labels, which feature a pink, purple, turquoise, and yellow cloud-like design, also let consumers know that “no unicorns [were] harmed in making of this seltzer.” It’s all-natural, according to the company, which has been family-owned for more than a century.
The hashtag #UnicornKisses, on social media, has added to the buzz about the soon-to-be-extinct flavor that sells for about a dollar in most stores.
On Twitter, a woman shared with the public a lengthy distribution list detailing where the drinks are located.
Bob Peredna, the manager at Wollaston’s Market at Northeastern University, said people have been trickling in to buy bottles of the bubbly stuff.
“It definitely does sell well,” he said. “It’s a unique item.”
Larry Baxter, the manager at the Roche Bros. supermarket on Summer Street in Boston, said people have been calling ahead and asking the store to set aside cases of the drink for them.
“We keep trying to order extra cases to make sure we have enough,” he said. “One woman we had, she bought six cases of it.”
As supermarkets have been fast selling out, and demand continues to spike, people have been trying to capitalize on the drink’s popularity.
On Craigslist, one seller has listed a single bottle of Unicorn Kisses for $10. On the the auction website eBay, the cost to secure the seltzer is much higher. Some people are trying to unload individual bottles for up to $99. Others are selling cases of the drink for $120.
Jon Farley, a Boston resident who attends the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, said the price gouging on eBay and Craigslist is excessive. But he wanted badly enough to try the flavor that he searched 15 stores for the drink.
On Monday morning, he found one of the mythical bottles in a Worcester market. It was buried behind some of Polar Seltzer’s regular flavors. He considered his quest a success.
“Whenever people say something is limited, people go crazy for it. The fact that they only have a certain amount, and after that it’s not going to be available anymore, it’s the ‘I-need-to-try-this-now’ sort of thing,” he said. “I love Polar Seltzer. I just wanted to try it. I’m crazy like that.”
Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.