Back in 1993, Zima the “clear malternative to beer” was introduced to America. For about a year this citrusy bubbly malt beverage was pretty popular. Shortly afterwards it became an enduring punchline for bad alcohol, anything stupid related to the 90’s, and lame stuff in general. Eventually production ceased, except for in Japan where it continued to be well received for many years, once again proving the superior palates of Japanese citizens. Despite Zima’s uncool status and my not entirely legal drinking status of the time, I enjoyed it. It was like Sprite, but it gave you a buzz. And if you had a Jolly Rancher to drop in the bottle, it came it multiple flavors.
The Return of Zima
Last summer clear-headed executives at MillerCoors brought back Zima for its 25th anniversary, as a summertime treat for long-time fans. It was wonderful. Of course some people don’t like it when others are happy. Critics, who in their spare time enjoy kicking puppies and pushing old people down stairs, dismissed its return as a cheap fad to capitalize on 90’s nostalgia. They would then follow it up with terribly clever jokes about Vanilla Ice (who has also enjoyed a career resurgence in recent years). These critics said it would be poorly received, and no one would drink more than one of these so-called abominations. Well guess what? They couldn’t have been more wrong. It is back again this summer.
The fact that people still mock Zima boggles my mind. Look around and you’ll see people cheering multiple lines of “hard sodas” that can be found in grocery and liquor stores. If you put Zima in a can and called it “Not Your Mom’s Lemon Pie” you would find glowing reviews on every corner of the internet. I’m not knocking those drinks or saying that Zima is better. I’m simply saying Zima should be held in equally high regard. Of course if you bring the bottles in for comparison, it is clearly superior. The angled bottled make it easier to hold after all.
At any rate, it is no longer anything for me to be upset with. Zima is back again. And it will be back next year. Critics can cry foul all they like, but it is too late. Zima has found love. Maybe, like its angled bottle, it was just a little too ahead of its time.