September 12th, 2013
10:45 AM ET
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Does your current brew fall short in the cuteness department? Just hop on a plane to Taiwan or China and pop open a frosty cold can of Hello Kitty beer.

Since 1974, images of the bow-wearing, mouthless cartoon cat have adorned adorable products, from stationery and stuffed toys to cars and consumer electronics. Now the beloved character can be found skipping merrily on cans of fruit-flavored beers produced by the Taiwan Tsing Beer Company under the Long Chuan label.

Japan's Sanrio Co. licensed Hello Kitty's likeness to the brewer for a range of beers weighing in at a comparatively low 2.3% alcohol by volume; Budweiser contains 5% ABV and Bud light 4.2%. Fruit-flavored Taiwanese beers are increasingly popular both in their native country and in China, where the limited edition Kitty-bedecked beverage is sold in varieties including peach, lemon-lime, passion fruit, banana and more.

Reviews on the social beer reviewing site Untappd are less than favorable. A drinker identified as "Josh B." rates the Peach offering with a half star out of a possible five, with the commentary, "Terrible," while Danny W. offers a more generous one and a half stars, saying, "Tastes like Fanta with a beer aftertaste."

"Sprit(e) on the front end...Bud Light on the back end," assesses a half-star review by Untappd user Evan D., which Raymond M. gives one star to the Passion Fruit flavor and notes, "Goes down like a wine cooler."

While the sweet, fruity flavor, easy drinking and colorful packaging might seem to be targeted toward a demographic too young to be busting out the suds just yet (the legal drinking age in China and Taiwan is 18), David Marchi, senior director of brand management and marketing for Sanrio assured Today.com that the 39-year-old brand wasn't targeting the lower end of its demographic. “Customers have grown up with Hello Kitty, literally,” he said.

There are currently no plans to bring the beer to the United States.

This is not the first time that Hello Kitty has gotten into the booze business. The Becks beer company produced a female-targeted Hello Kitty beer in 2009. Soon after, ubiquitous feline could be also found on the side of wines from Italy and California.

“Our favorite girl has grown up," read the tagline for the four Italian offerings, but does the combo of cute and alcohol proof give you pause or seem just purr-fect? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.

And meanwhile, peruse the legal drinking ages in the ten most populated countries:

China: 18
India: Varies per state, from 18 to 25 and is illegal in several states.
United States: 21
Indonesia: 21
Brazil: 18
Pakistan: 21 for non-Muslim population, otherwise illegal
Nigeria: 18
Bangladesh: Alcohol is banned
Russia: 18
Japan: 20



Previously:

Hello Kitty, world's cutest planes head to the U.S.
A celebration of collaboration beers
Now in session: lower-alcohol beers
Why I drink good beer
Building a better drinking vessel

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Filed under: Beer • Marketing • Sip


soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. JellyBean

    Drink up, Kitties! I once had a gnat land in my whiskey. I carefully fished him out and put him on a napkin. After a while he took flight in large circles and loops and flew out the door. Yep, that's right, I got a gnat drunk. Life is grand.

    September 13, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  2. zork

    At least 9% ABV or go home.

    September 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  3. Jessica

    Beer? Really? I guess Sanrio will slap a Hello Kitty label on just about anything these days.
    Here in the States, I think we are about to see widespread Hello Kitty fatigue. Based on the opinions of my daughter and her elementary-age friends, there is so much Hello Kitty merchandise out there that they don't want it any more.

    September 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  4. No Duh

    Well... We had Spuds Mackenzie and Bud Man.

    September 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  5. Zippernips

    "Budweiser"... "5.0% ABV"... AhahAHahahAHAhahAA!! Right.

    September 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  6. t0phyr

    This isn't "peddling." Hello Kitty may seem to be focused on little kids in the United States, but the beer's not being sold here, now is it? In Sanrio's home country, cartoon, anime, and video game characters are used to sell everything. Even government-run public services like buses and trains use them in nearly all printed media and signage. There is a cultural focus on "cuteness" over there, even for adults, that is a foreign concept to most Americans. Use of Hello Kitty with beer doesn't blur lines in those countries like it would here because cartoon characters there are not solely associated with things that are safe for children.

    September 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  7. SSSS

    Considering the fact that there have been Hello Kitty vibrators on the market for years I'm not really shocked by this in the least.

    September 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Darkslicer

    Not a drinker myself, but I'll throw my input in. I think it's completely insane to use a cartoon to peddle alcohol or cigarettes. Anime, for the most part, is targeted to young adults, but Hello Kitty is focused on little kids and extremely popular with girls in general. By doing this, they run the risk of an increase in underage drinking whether or not that is the company's intent. This is just like Joe Camel, but a thousand times worse as far as I'm concerned. Joe Camel at least didn't LOOK like it was targeted towards children though it still had that effect.

    September 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Owl96

      This is not for sale in the United States, but Tiawan. I believe their taget audience is much older than you think. You do not do planes in a Hello Kitty theme to get children to fly. Hello Kitty is a large brand for young adult women there.

      September 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • grafikit

        Seriously, they may not directly advertise it to kids or underage drinkers but it is in fact a damn cartoon that kids are drawn too. They have a moral responsibility no matter which country or what demographic they are targeting towards.

        September 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Darkslicer

          Exactly, I don't think that guy understands that. Whether they like it or not, young kids are attracted to Hello Kitty. Young women may be Hello Kitty fanatics, but they aren't the intended target audience. To use something like Hello Kitty in promotions for alcohol is disturbing. Imagine if they used Pokemon (also popular with young adults, but targeted to kids) to peddle cigarettes...

          September 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • danger carlos

      how many kids did you see in the photos?

      September 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  9. DGB

    This is surprising, Hello Kitty is a spokesmen. There is little that Hello Kitty hasn't endorsed. There are so many sex toys and and feminine products that Hello Kitty is already on which are officially licensed. This article and poll is is just another example of US ethnocentrism.

    September 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Truth™

    I can see this catching on with women over there. Men, not so much.

    September 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  11. smartaz

    I heard Hello Kitty got ruffied by Garfield.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • smartaz

      *roofied*

      September 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  12. amber stuzuenburger

    hello kitty beer taste so good

    September 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  13. CFB

    Reblogged this on Liturgical Credo.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  14. m

    As others have mentioned, this isn't a problem because in Japan all ages embrace these characters. "Cartoons" and cute characters are enjoyed by adults just as much as the kids and Hello Kitty always appeals to women. Their drinking ages are also lower.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • john

      their drinking age is lower by one year

      September 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  15. beelade

    It's beer, and Hello Kitty has been around forever,

    Just cause a few moron americans have a stick up their rear, doesn't mean history of animation has changed.

    And the real purpose of Animation was to ENTERTAIN ADULTS.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • RC

      Being pretty generous calling that pi$$water beer aren't ya?

      September 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  16. NoelleoN

    It's fine with me as long as they sell Hello Kitty pretzels!!

    September 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Alex

    Sounds like Joe Camel all over again

    September 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  18. Chloe Morgan

    Things are different in Asia. Young adults love Hello Kitty and you often see them with Hello Kitty backpacks, etc. It's not about marketing to the underage.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  19. BlackSunshine

    Why not just call it "Hello, P***y!" It is alcohol

    September 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  20. Barfville

    cartoon characters on beer in asia is irrelevant because cartoons arent associated with children, it is normal media, characters are used more like how celebrities are used here

    September 12, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  21. jonquil123

    This seems so wrong. Some anime is high art and not bound to an age group but "Hello Kitty" is too kid oriented and cutesy to be associated with adult things, like, liquor and se-xuality. This is where there's a strong, cultural divide between some Eastern countries and The US; in The US, this mash-up between cutesy, child-like things and adulthood is acceptable...for those who really are at that turning point in maturity. Otherwise, it feels creepy to see an adult woman, presented like an innocent, little girl, hocking beer with "Hello Kitty" on it. Americans are generally not comfortable with that aesthetic dynamic.

    September 12, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • guest

      Have you not heard of the Hello Kitty "personal massager"?

      September 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  22. RC

    Oh good lord.....

    September 12, 2013 at 11:17 am |
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