Back from the dead: Zima returns to Dayton

Break out the flannel, Cross Colours or Hypercolor clothes! Zima is coming back...if just for a little while.

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The clear malt beverage was all the rage shortly after its introduction in 1991. Though certainly not the first malt beverage on the market, in the years before the craft beer boom, the unmistakably unique bottles offered drinkers an interesting and refreshing alternative. 

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It all came to an end in 2008 when, citing "challenging malternative segment sales and declining consumer interest,” MillerCoors pulled the plug on American production, allowing only for production in Japan.

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For a limited time, Zima lovers will no longer have to fly to Japan for their favorite clear alcoholic beverage. (News | WFXT)

So when Jeff Heater, owner of The Barrel House in Dayton, caught wind of a re-release of the transparent libation next month, he nearly jumped out of his acid-washed jeans. 

Customers of the craft beer store and bar were surprised to see the announcement of a special Zima event, June 13, on the business’ Facebook page this week.

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“Everybody keeps asking me, ‘Are you going to have Jolly Ranchers (candy to mix with Zima)?’ Yes, we’ll have Jolly Ranchers,” Heater said. “I’ve got a ton of feedback just from posting that picture on Facebook.”
In February, MillerCoors announced it would relaunch the ‘90s alcoholic drink this year, but gave few other details. According to Heater, this trip down boozy memory lane is to be short lived, however.
“I talked to my Miller rep, and she said this is a one-time drop. It’s not like it’s going to be out for a year to see how it goes. This is it.”

According to Heater, the Dayton-area release date for Zima is June 12, and he is still working on how to add to the Barrel House event to make it even more special. He’s heard ideas ranging from dressing up in ‘90s clothes to having someone perform live music from that decade. He’s even fielded questions as to why he’s such a Zima fan.

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“Some of my friends remembered that’s what I drank (back then),” Heater said. “In fact, I had one buddy who called me out. ‘How’d you go from drinking Zima to having a craft beer store?’”

Zima? A gateway beverage to craft beer? Stranger things have happened -- like Zima coming back from the dead.

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