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12.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

Zo long Zima

IT’S THE END of an era. Zima one of the first “malternative” drinks will soon be no more. MillerCoors LLC has stopped brewing Zima because of “challenging” sales a nd “declining consumer interest” in the flavored malt beverage segment, according to a statement by Andy England, chief marketing officer. The last bottles of Zima will likely be shipped to wholesale distributors in December. “This decision is necessary to reduce complexity when it comes to our brand portfolio, allowing for more focused activity at retail on consumer-preferred brands, especially Sparks,” said England. Sparks is a citrus-flavored caffeinated malt beverage that targeting drinkers who mix energy drinks with vodka.

Zima had a successful debut in 1994, but sales quickly declined. The beverage drew ridicule from beer industry types and others, partly for the concept and partly for its ads, which used a lot of words beginning with the letter Z. But Zima made a comeback a few years later, and helped fuel higher earnings for Coors. By the late 199Os, other flavored malt beverages began appearing, many of them spiked lemonades. The trend peaked in 2OO2 with Miller leading the way with the launch of Stoli Citrona, Sauza Diablo, Jack Daniel’s Original Hard Cola, and Skyy Blue. But much of the demand proved to be faddish. By 2OO4, Miller had dropped all but Skyy Blue – which ceased production a year later. Zima, however, stayed alive and as late as last year was reformulated into three new flavors: Citrus, Pineapple Citrus and Tangerine. But even trendy fruit flavors proved to not be enough and so Zima is no more.

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