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Coors to debut new malt "spritzer." (Adolph Coors Co. introduces Zima Clearmalt)

Coors Brewing Co. will introduce a malt-based spritzer-like alcoholic beverage next month with people under 35 the target audience.

Zima ClearMalt will be a lightly carbonated, clear-colored alcoholic beverage comparable to a spritzer. It will be malt-based but not fruity.

"It's not a wine cooler, not a spirit and not a beer," said Greg Head, assistant brand manager for Coors.

"What we're trying to do is create something totally different than the traditional alcohol beverages people are accustomed to. "

The new product will be made exclusively in Coors' Memphis, TN, brewery, which currently produces Coors Cutter non-alcoholic beer and packages other brand names. The plant employs about 350.

Zima brand manager John Neu said the alcoholic beverage will target people between the ages of 21 and 35 - those regarded as having a taste for light-flavored drinks.

Plans call for Zima ClearMalt to be introduced in test markets next month in Nashville, Sacramento, CA, and Syracuse, NY. Beverage industry consultant Tom Pirko said Seagram Beverage Co. beat Coors to the stores with its Seagram's Spritzer, a comparable concoction, which has been available since April.

"All of the major brewers have attempted to come out with new products other than beer, like seltzer and sparkling water, and they've never succeeded," said Pirko, president of Bevmark Inc. in Los Angeles.

Pirko said removing artificial coloring from drinks is a current trend in the industry.

"Clear is a big issue because it seems to connote good health. In the '90s, that's important," he said.

Coors spokesperson Catherine McCuistion said Zima ClearMalt is the most expensive product launch in company history, though she wouldn't reveal the exact figure.

"We didn't go in and fix a category. We created a category, she said.

Officials said Zima ClearMalt will be packaged in 12-ounce clear glass-ribbed bottles, plus cans. Each bottle will have 3.7 percent alcohol content and 150 calories, about the same as a premium beer.

The brand will be supported in test markets with an outdoor teaser and broadcast ad campaign. The teaser billboards will break on August 31 and will be followed by a series of local television spots.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 17, 1992
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