- Zima, a malt beverage popular in the '90s that was dropped by MillerCoors in 2008 after sales slumped, is coming back in the United States later this year, according to Crain's Chicago Business. The brand never caught on with young men, its target audience.
The success of other alcoholic drinks, including its own Henry's Hard Soda line, prompted MillerCoors to give Zima another shot.
The alcoholic drink never completely went away even after it was dropped in the United States. It was popular at night-clubs in Japan.
Alcoholic sodas seems like an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. But an increasing number of them suggest the category will be around for a while. Some like Zima – and its tagline "Zomething different" – are brands that were once popular but discontinued after their popularity diminished due to changing consumer tastes and the introduction of other more trendy products.
What inspires companies to reintroduce products they once decided to discontinue? Two easy answers are shelf space and competition. When a retailer decides to allocate space to a new product, valuable shelving has to be taken from other products. The emergence of Zima could foster sales that, for a time, exceed the item it replaced. It's also possible that instead of pulling space from another product, the retailer will assign the newcomer space on an end cap, where items tend to rotate.
The competition answer is just as easy to understand: Coca Cola's Blue Sky and Hansen's sodas were brought to compete in an increasingly popular craft soda market. Similarly, Zima is returning to compete in a reemerging clear beverage market, and the growing alcoholic colas market.
Consumers often show a fondness for returning to brands that were popular when they were younger. Using new advertising and brand names, some of these products will stick around for a while – until something more clever comes along.