The “premium malt beverage” category is a pretty crowded field these days, with Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard, and a handful of other drinks having staked their claim years ago.
But if you remember the ’90s, you remember there being only one “clear beer” on the market: Zima.
Introduced in 1993, the lemon-lime flavored drink stayed on the shelves until fizzling out in October 2008. But nostalgia is a powerful force, and just like with Crystal Pepsi, a longing for the past has brought Zima out of retirement; it's hitting shelves again around Fourth of July weekend.
But before you take a trip down bad memory lane and crack open your first bottle in over a decade, read up on five things you didn’t know about Zima:
It’s owned by MillerCoors.
The company (which was just called Coors Brewing Company back then) spent $50 million marketing it during its first year on the market.
It means “winter.”
“Zima” translates to “winter” in Slavic languages. The name was created by a company called Lexicon Branding, who had a Russian linguist on staff.
It was a massive success in its first year.
Thanks in part to the huge marketing campaign surrounding its release, it sold like hotcakes from day one. In fact, during its first year on the shelves, nearly half of all alcohol drinkers in America tried it at least once.
Lots of different Zima flavors were released.
In order to convince more men to try the product, Zima Gold (which claimed to have the “taste of bourbon”) was released in 1995, and it was a huge failure. During the product’s decline in the 2000s, several other flavors were introduced as well, including pineapple citrus, tangerine, citrus, blackberry and green apple.
It never stopped being sold in Japan.
Even though it was discontinued in the U.S., it never left store shelves in Japan.