The Bar Belle

Nov 5, 2008 at 6:00 am

Zomething zifferent no more

Last week, Mug Shots writer Roger Baylor lamented the demise of the popular Denmark pub Mouse & Elephant. I’d like to lament this week the demise of something much nearer and dearer to my heart — the death of Zima.

Not since the creation of Clear Pepsi had such a drink taken the adult-beverage world by storm. Zima, a clear, flavored, malt beverage, was as ’90s as flannel and Pearl Jam. Created in 1994 by Coors Brewing Co., Zima targeted the wine-cooler demographic, which included women who were afraid of beer, men who hadn’t yet grown facial hair and me, a young college student thrust into the party life with no manual. I cut my teeth on Zima. By the middle of my freshman year, I could easily put away a six-pack. My drink of choice at the Pimp & Ho parties was the double-deuce Zima bottle. “Look!” I remember shouting to a friend in the next stall over. “My pee is clear — does this mean I’m drunk?”

Zima was the ultimate chameleon, which made it a great base for party punches. Drop in a watermelon Jolly Rancher and — bam! — you’ve got yourself an entirely new drink. We mixed Zima and Razzmatazz for our annual anti-Valentine’s Party one year, and it was a hit for all seven people who showed up, including my younger brother and his friends. (Note: Projectile Razzmatazz is not easy to get out of carpet.)

But as the popularity pendulum swung away from the Zima trend and I drank what my budget would allow (Natural Light), the demand for the lemon-lime spirit dwindled. A few weeks ago, it was announced that Miller Coors LLC is stopping production of Zima, noting challenging sales and a decline in consumer interest. The last bottles will be shipped in December. Let’s do a toast to memories. (But, please, keep the flannel in the closet.)

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