What is Zima? History and Resurgence

Everything you need to know about this clear, malt beverage

Zima is a malt beverage that was introduced by Coors Brewing Company in 1993.

It was marketed as a clear, lightly carbonated alternative to beer and was initially quite successful. The name Zima comes from the Slavic word for “winter.

Zima was made by filtering the flavor out of low-quality beer and adding lemon-lime flavor to create a bubbly, flavorless liquid. It was generally citrus-flavored and had an alcohol by volume (ABV) of less than 5%, making it about as boozy as a standard beer. In the 1990s, Zima joined Crystal Pepsi in the marketing craze for clear drinks, and it became a cultural phenomenon for a brief period of time.

History of Zima

Zima is a clear, malt-based beverage that was created and distributed by Coors in 1993.

It was marketed as an alternative to beer and was generally citrus-flavored. Zima was about as boozy as a standard beer, with an ABV of less than 5%.

The drink was initially quite successful and was part of the early 1990s “Clear Craze,” which was built on concepts of purity pioneered by Ivory Soap in their advertisements from the late 1800s.

Zima’s Creation

Zima was created by Coors in response to the growing popularity of clear, non-alcoholic beverages like Crystal Pepsi.

Coors saw an opportunity to create a clear alcoholic beverage that would appeal to young, trendy consumers.

The company spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns and promotions to introduce Zima to the market.

Popularity in the 90s

Zima was an instant hit with young consumers, particularly women, who were drawn to the drink’s light, refreshing taste and low alcohol content.

The drink was heavily marketed as a party drink, and its popularity skyrocketed in the mid-1990s, becoming a staple at college parties and nightclubs across the United States.

During its peak, Zima was one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country, with sales exceeding $1 billion in 1994. The drink was so successful that Coors introduced several new flavors, including cherry and raspberry, in an attempt to keep up with demand.


Despite its initial success, Zima’s popularity began to wane in the late 1990s.

The drink was seen as uncool and outdated, and sales began to decline. Coors attempted to rebrand Zima several times, but these efforts were unsuccessful, and the drink was eventually discontinued in the United States in 2008.

However, Zima continued to be sold in other countries, including Japan and South Korea, where it remained popular.

In 2017, Coors announced that it would be bringing Zima back to the United States for a limited time, capitalizing on the drink’s nostalgic appeal to millennials who grew up in the 1990s.

Zima’s Flavor Profile

Taste and Ingredients

Zima is a clear malt beverage that was first introduced in the United States in 1992.

various citrus fruits that can be used for muddling

It has a sweet taste with a hint of citrus, making it a refreshing alternative to beer. Some people have also described it as having a bubblegum flavor. Zima’s ingredients include water, barley malt, corn syrup, and hops. It also contains citric acid and natural flavors to give it its distinct taste.

Comparison to Other Beverages

Zima can be compared to other sweet, easy-to-drink alcoholic beverages such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

However, Zima has a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from these other beverages. It is also less boozy than a standard beer with an ABV of less than 5%, making it a popular choice for those who want to enjoy a drink without getting too intoxicated.

Zima’s Comeback

Reintroduction to the Market

In 2017, MillerCoors announced the limited-time-only comeback of Zima, the iconic clear malt beverage that was first introduced in 1993.

The reintroduction of Zima leaned hard into ’90s kitsch, throwing other period references like JNCO jeans and Troll dolls into the new Zima ads.

The relaunch of Zima was a nostalgia-driven marketing strategy aimed at millennials who fondly remember the beverage from their youth. The new Zima ads featured bright colors, bold graphics, and catchy slogans that resonated with the target audience.

Current Popularity

Since its reintroduction, Zima has gained a cult following among millennials who are eager to relive the ’90s.

The beverage has become a popular choice for parties, gatherings, and other social events.

Although Zima’s popularity is not as widespread as it was in the 1990s, it has carved out a niche market for itself. The beverage is still available at most major retailers, and it continues to be a popular choice for those who want to try something different.

Zima’s comeback has been a success, and it has proven that nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. While it remains to be seen whether Zima will continue to be a popular beverage in the years to come, it is clear that it has left an indelible mark on pop culture.


Zima was a clear, citrus-flavored malt beverage that was first introduced by Coors in 1993.

Despite its initial popularity, Zima’s sales declined rapidly, and it was discontinued in the United States in 2008. However, it still exists in some other countries, such as Japan, where it is marketed to the nightlife and social crowd.

While Zima was not a successful product, it paved the way for future hard seltzers, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Zima demonstrated that not all drinkers are looking for beer or wine, and that there is a market for clear, refreshing, and low-alcohol beverages.

Overall, Zima’s legacy is mixed. On the one hand, it was a commercial failure that was widely mocked and parodied.

On the other hand, it was an innovative product that challenged traditional notions of what constitutes a “drink.” Whether Zima will ever make a comeback in the United States remains to be seen, but its impact on the beverage industry is undeniable.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

bottles of portuguese liquor

The Types of Portuguese Liquor You Have to Try

distillery tanks

What is a Distillery? History and Types