MillerCoors Is Bringing Back Clear Malt Beverage Zima for a Limited Time

Taps into '90s nostalgia as the 'citrus malternative' returns

Zima's return comes as the alcopop category has had a resurgence in recent years. - Credit by YouTube: Zima Malt Beverage
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It’s back, and it’s as clear as ever.

MillerCoors is temporarily bringing back Zima, Coors’ ’90s transparent malt beverage that was part of the first wave of alcopop brands and the decade’s clear craze—which also gave the world Crystal Pepsi, Tab Clear and Miller’s Clear Beer.

Coors first introduced its “citrus malternative” in 1993, and its popularity peaked the next year, when it sold 1.3 million barrels in its first year of national distribution. According to a Slate, Coors spent around $38 million promoting the brand that year, more than its flagship brand, but sales fell to 403,000 barrels two years later. Soon, it seemed Zima was more common as a punchline than a beverage, although it took until 2008 for Coors to finally stop producing it.

Zima’s return comes as the alcopop category has had a resurgence in recent years, with brands including Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer, AB InBev’s Best Damn Root Beer and Best Damn Cherry Cola and MillerCoors’ Henry’s Hard Orange and Henry’s Hard Ginger Ale (although some differentiate hard soda brands from coolerlike forebears such as Zima).

Mekanism and its social agency, Epic Signal, created a social media video in partnership with IPG Media Lab promoting the return of the brand with an homage to the decade when Zima’s popularity waxed and waned. The agency mines ’90s nostalgia with references to everything from Jnco jeans—they’re back, apparently—to dancing baby (not back) and frosted tips (also not back, thankfully).

The 60-second spot will run on social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Mekanism teamed up with PR agency Olson and digital firm DigitasLBi for the integrated campaign, which also includes an 8-bit brand website designed by DigitasLBi, a chatbot on Zima’s Facebook Messenger, a partnership with social influencer Fuckjerry, Zima sticker books and “a seeding campaign to classic ’90s faces including Jennie Garth, Mario Lopez and Third Eye Blind.”

So how long will Zima be around this time?

The Zima website provides the following answer: “You know how summer starts, and it seems like it’s going to just last forever? And then, just like that, it’s over? Zima’s only around for a limited time, too … Zima’s like summer.”

Check out this Zima spot from 1994:

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.