Zima will be trickling into local bars soon. Big Bar has one of the first shipments. | Photo by Sara Havens

Some of you (most likely of the millennial persuasion) might think Zima‘s return is a silly gimmick launched for nostalgic purposes by a big company — something along the lines of Clear Pepsi or a new album by Sheryl Crow.

And others might be thinking, “What the hell is a Zima, and who is Sheryl Crow?”

Zima will be available while supplies last.

Well, I’m here to tell you Zima is not Clear Pepsi. Zima is a delicious adult beverage I frequently consumed in the late ’90s while I was navigating the nightlife realm for the first time.

I was in college, enjoying the freedom I spent years trying to achieve, and I stumbled upon my first Zima at a frat party. It was next to a bowl of Jolly Ranchers.

Unlike the burn of tequila or the nastiness of Natural Light, Zima was the perfect drink for my untrained palate — especially with a watermelon Jolly Rancher added to the bottle. I consumed the malt beverage just about every weekend I was able to find someone of age to buy it — which wasn’t often.

I longed for the day I would finally be able to walk into a liquor store and buy a six-pack for myself. That day finally came, although by then, we were on to more economical choices, like a 30-pack of Miller High Life Lite for $9.99.

But on those special occasions, even after I had moved to Louisville, I would order a Zima and reminisce about the good old days. Sadly, in 2008, MillerCoors ceased its production in the United States but continued making it for Japanese consumers, who appreciate cool, hip things — like cartoon cats and large lizards.

Zima from Japan features a pink option. | Photo by Sara Havens

I’ve written numerous times about my zest for Zima and am not ashamed to tout it to beer snobs who point and laugh. I bid on several Zima signs in the Jim Porter’s and Phoenix Hill Tavern auctions a few years back and won them.

And last year, for my 40th birthday, a friend who has family in Japan even smuggled in a few bottles for me, which I still have not brought myself to open.

This brings us to today. Right now. On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Zima was graciously re-released into U.S. markets for a limited time only.

I’ve had my feelers out for some time now and am happy to report that Big Bar is one of the first local bars to get the product. The Highlands/Germantown rep confirmed it was her first delivery of Zima in Louisville, and her only one today.

It’ll also make its way to most other bars and liquor stores throughout the city, so be on the lookout. The company originally said Zima would be re-released by July 4, but it’s beginning to trickle out into the market fast — the opposite of Tori Spelling’s acting career.

Zomething zifferent. | Photo by Sara Havens

And it’ll only be here though Labor Day or while supplies last.

Kevin Bryan, owner of Big Bar, says his Zima supply currently is being chilled in the beer coolers, and it’ll be available when the bar opens at 4 p.m.

Of course he has an ample supply of Jolly Ranchers on hand, and he plans to charge $4 a bottle. Zima has an ABV of 5 percent.

Big Bar is located at 1202 Bardstown Road.

We’ll update this story as we learn of more local watering holes serving Zima. Cheers.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."