Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zima, I Hardly Knew Ye

Apparently today was a dark one in the annals of malt beverage history:

MILWAUKEE - MillerCoors LLC says goodbye to Zima.

The joint venture between SABMiller's U.S. unit and Molson Coors Brewing Co. told distributors in a letter Monday that production of the malt liquor beverage was discontinued as of Oct. 10.

Chief Marketing Officer Andy England says the decision was due to weakness in the "malternative" segment and declining consumer interest.
Being a beer/wine/vodka man myself and having never imbibed a malt beverage I can't relate to the sentiments being expressed by my dear family member one l bill in bringing this to my attention, but I do sympathize:
In 6th or 7th grade I was at my friend Eddie's house. His folks were both smokers and always had Blue Ribbon in the fridge. Eddie's mom looked like a potsmoking hippie who managed to elevate herself from trailer to brick & mortar home. His dad was skinny as a rail and probably worked at a steel mill. Anyway, Eddie wasn't a particularly bad kid or anything. He was actually pretty good compared to a lot of the kids at my school. However, that didn't prevent Eddie from being the kid who introduced me to my first Red Shoe Diaries, first Playboy and first beer. One day when his folks were gone and I was spending the night we decided to try one of the Blue Ribbons. As I recall, we each took one sip, thought it was disgusting, spit it out, threw the evidence in the gutter, brushed our teeth and chewed about 6 pieces of Spearmint gum. From that day on, I could care less about beer. It tasted disgusting!

I'll have you know that I've tried plenty of other beers since that day. In all honesty, probably not very many (if any) before age 21. I have done my part to seek out an understanding for this adult male's beverage though. To this day, I still haven't found one I like. Closest I ever got was a Keystone Light. So when my college roommates and I started a Friday afternoon/night tradition called "Power Hour", I was determined to find something to drink along with them. (Power Hour started around 2pm every week. We'd crank up Dr. Dre, grab some chips, salsa, beer and play PS2 until we couldn't take it anymore. The crowd was always a minimum of 5 guys, often up to 10. Guys came from all around to join the camaraderie.) After ruling out a dozen different beers, one of the guys suggested I try a Zima. Low and behold, this was the magic nectar that was able to break my alcohol seal. I don't mean to imply that I'd get wasted off the stuff - I've never been one for excess in this area. But finally, I found a drink that I could have 2, maybe 3 and enjoy them.

Since that day, many other drinks have come and gone in my life. Maragaritas are right up there on the list now. Zima's always been my #1 girl though. Have I been mocked beyond belief? Yes. Do I care? No. I love Zima and Zima gets along fine with me. Our relationship made such an impression on one of my old roommate's new roommates that he's the one who actually found this article and made sure it got forwarded to me. This is a tragic day for one L bill.

I loved you Zima. I gave you many of my most fun nights in college. (Yeah, yeah, lame to most, but you had to be there.) Whenever I think of you, Zima, you will be forever linked to those great college friends and our numerous wasted hours on Timesplitters and NHL Hitz. Thanks for the memories.
I specifically remember the first time my old man gave me a whole beer just for myself at the National Skydiving Championships in Muskogee, Oklahoma in the mid-1980's as well as when I took my girl at the time out to a nice Argentinian restaurant she chose on Valentine's Day, 1998 where I tried my first vodka martini: in both cases I hated each of them, respectively; I chalk the first up to the fact that I was not yet even a teenager at the time and the second to the fact that a martini is basically just straight up 80 proof alcohol in a fancy glass.

Regardless, I've since come to love both of these libations (the martini especially) as I would a good friend or lover, so I understand what my boy here is going through. As a show of brotherly (in-law) solidarity, I promise to tip the last sip of my next dry martini onto the bar just for you, amigo.


Anonymous said...

There's a funny joke in there somewhere, I'm just too busy laughing to find it. One L, it's not that drinking beer or whiskey/vodka makes you a man (it does), it's not that drinking Zima makes you a ghurl (it probably does), it's that you shouldn't openly discuss your lack of the former and penchant for the later, in the same conversation no less.

Intrepid Californio said...

Don't worry. There is still smirnoff ice.No wonder the rest of the world hates us.

Anonymous said...

Hates "us"?

My favorite part is that this post is tagged "Family Guy". Nice.

JBW said...

I think I meant to tag it "Family" and just misread my tags but regardless: knowing my friends and their usual rhetorical blood lust, I think you got off rather light after your admission here. Just the same, I'm going to insist that you do at least one hard-core tequila shot with me when I'm in Texas for X-mas so that I can go back to Cali and defend my family's manhood to my West coast friends.

Anonymous said...

Wow, here's another big R.I.P. for me.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if that worked, so: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081105/ap_en_mo/obit_crichton

JBW said...

Dude that sucks; I love his novels (State of Favor aside). This is a loss for us.