Shares of coffee-pod system and beverage maker Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP - Get Report)  shot higher on Thursday after the company posted third-quarter sales that beat analysts' forecasts - and adjusted per-share earnings that matched - on strong demand for its coffee-pod systems and its staple Dr. Pepper and Canada Dry soda beverages. 

On a pro-forma basis, sales came in at $2.87 billion, slightly higher than $2.86 billion recorded for the year-earlier period and the $2.8 billion expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

The merger of Keurig Green Mountain and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was completed in July 2018.

Adjusted net income, meantime, came in at $451 million, or 32 cents a share, vs. adjusted pro forma net income of $417 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-ago period, the Burlington, Mass., company said. Those results matched analysts' forecasts.

"Healthy underlying growth in all four segments, combined with margin expansion, enabled strong earnings growth, cash generation and continued debt reduction," CEO Bob Gamgort said in a statement.

Sales of its coffee systems gained 5.6% to $1.31 billion vs. $1.24 million a year ago, "primarily reflecting the impact of the merger," the company said. Sales of its staple beverage products including Dr. Pepper, Canada Dry, Big Red and Sunkist increased 14% to $360 million vs. $317 million in the year-ago period.

Separately, the company reaffirmed its 2019 adjusted per-share earnings growth of between $1.20 and $1.22, with net sales growth of approximately 3%, at the high end of the company's long-term merger target of 2-3%. Free cash flow generation is expected to be in the range of $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion, the company said.

Shares of Keurig Dr Pepper were up 13.38%, or $3.77 a share, at $31.95 in morning trading on Thursday.

While Keurig Dr. Pepper isn't held by Jim Cramer in his Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, rival Pepsi is a core holding. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells (PEP - Get Report) ? Learn more now.