Hello Kitty has turned to the bottle — well, the can, actually. Fans of the world’s cutest cartoon cat can now find her in liquid form in Taiwan and China, after Japan’s Sanrio Co. licensed her image to a Taiwanese beverage company to produce a range of fruit-flavored beers.
Everything about the drink, from the advertising to the taste, is intoxicatingly sweet, say consumers. And with an alcohol volume of just 2.3%, the beer is about half the strength of regular lagers.
Commercials for the product show Hello Kitty prancing around in what appear to be fruit costumes, while an equally adorable woman exclaims “now there’s Hello Kitty cans, totally cute!”
But not everyone is warming to the six fruity flavors, which include peach, lemon-lime, passion fruit and banana. “[It] tastes like someone spilled beer in your fruit soda,” writes Shanghaiist‘s Benjamin Cost.
Kotaku blogger Eric Jou isn’t a fan of the peach flavor, which he describes as having a “weird almost soapy after-taste at the end of each sip.”
Sanrio founder Shintaro Tsuji has become a billionaire licensing Hello Kitty’s intellectual property to a whole array companies, from stationery makers to Swarovski (who produced a crystal-encrusted doll worth over $60,000). And beer is definitely not the most adult Hello Kitty product on the market.
Some have questioned whether the beer’s cutesy branding and sweet taste are a pitch towards underage consumers — a claim dismissed by David Marchi, Sanrio’s senior director of brand management and marketing, who says “customers have grown up with Hello Kitty, literally,” and points out that flavored beers are becoming increasingly popular in Taiwan and China.
What does Hello Kitty think? Well, we’re guessing she’s a teetotaler since the famous feline has no mouth.