Getchell Bros. Inc.'s Union Street factory in Brewer seen here in 2016. Credit: Nick Sambides Jr. / BDN

A national ice franchise has acquired Getchell Brothers, the famed New England ice production company whose roots in the Bangor area date back more than 130 years. 

Arctic Glacier announced last week that it had bought Getchell Brothers, which is headquartered in Brewer and operates production facilities in Brewer, Bangor and Sanford. 

Getchell Brothers packages ice for convenience, liquor and grocery stores throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 

Teenage brothers J. Calvin and Fred founded Getchell Brothers in 1888, when ice was harvested on the Penobscot River in South Brewer and shipped to southern destinations including Cuba and other Caribbean islands. The city of Brewer was founded the next year. 

Both Arctic Glacier and Getchell Brothers touted the acquisition as a savvy decision to allow Getchell Brothers to continue operating while granting the owner company, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, an opportunity to expand into New England. 

“Combining our resources and expertise with Arctic Glacier, a long-time strategic partner and leading ice manufacturer and distributor in North America, is a natural next step,” said Getchell president Doug Farnham, who is also Maine’s adjutant general and commissioner of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

“Joining forces with Maine’s premier provider of quality packaged ice demonstrates our ongoing commitment to secure the best resources to effectively serve North American customers,” said Richard Wyckoff, Arctic Glacier’s president and chief executive. 

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to