Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obituary: Zima, Clear Malt Beverage

By Missy Peters, MFA

Zima, the malternative beverage choice that started rocking the nation in 1992 and didn’t stop until the corporate fascists at Miller-Coors LLC killed it in a cold-hearted and calculated move that ripped the hearts out of its legion of devoted followers, passed away on Monday.

Zima, which just celebrated its Sweet-16 last month, first satiated high school girls who thought “beer was gross” and wanted an alternative to drinking white zinfandel at parties. It grew in popularity and quickly spread to sororities and was popular at many mixers including the famed University of Pittsburgh PiKA/Tri-Delt Spring Fling in 1994.

The alcopop was also front-and-center in the “clear craze” of the early 1990’s which included popularization of many other unnaturally clear beverages. Most attempts were doomed from the start, the poster child being the now defunct Crystal Pepsi. Saturday Night Live even satirized the times with a sketch that included “Crystal Gravy.” While the Hollywood-centered, liberal media would thumb their collective nose at all things crystal, Zima proved it was no joke. Zima dominated the market share for malt beverages from 1999-2008. It accumulated an unheard of 28.4% market share for the year 1999, meaning that nearly 3 out of every 10 alcopops purchased was a Zima. This success quickly led imitators and wannabes to try and get in on the action. In 2000, British beverage company Diageo invented a Zima knock-off, Smirnoff Ice. However, most experts agreed that it sucked in comparison, and Zima loyalists would hold strong and stay true to their drink.

“I remember when I had my first sip of Zima,” recalled Zima enthusiast Missy P, formerly of South Oakland. “I was 17 and it was a hot summer night at my friend Jenny’s house. It was also the night I had my first kiss. I would alternate between kissing my then boyfriend, and sucking down the tasty beverage. I broke up with the boy the next day, I would have a love affair with Zima for the rest of its adult life.”

Zima is survived by Smirnoff Ice and a bunch of shitty-ass wine coolers. Viewings will be held at Gene’s Place in Oakland every Thursday until they run out of stock. A final memorial service will be held during the Delta Delta Delta (Alpha Theta chapter) final holiday bash of 2008. Guests are asked to start stocking up now.