Zecond Thoughts At Coors?

IS ZIMA THE EDSEL OF brews? When Adolph Coors said on June 29 that its second-quarter profits had skidded 37%, it fingered declining sales of the quirky new "clear malt" drink as a culprit, along with rising can costs for all products.

Though Coors won't break out details on Generation X-oriented Zima's performance, the rapid sales fall from its strong early-1994 debut increased the odds that it might be dropped. Tom Pirko, head of consultant Bevmark, says the initial sales surge was only due to a big kickoff ad campaign. Coors, he says, "won't be able to shove it down the throats of a facile generation."

The evidence is that the embattled brand will survive, at least for now. Because the clear drink appeals to young women (taste: like a weak gin and tonic), Coors is aiming at young men by starting a Zima Gold line (taste: bourbon and soda). And it has new ads that are more traditional, with young people frolicking, such as at a coed football game. That replaces its old, off-beat "zomething different" ad tack.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.