Hello Kitty Pitches Beer

The Japanese company Sanrio has licensed the pudgy face cartoon cat to a Taiwanese beverage maker which is selling fruit-flavored beer in China and Taiwan. Sanrio dismissed claims that the beer is being pitched to underage consumers.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next, we go to a wildly successful Japanese export that specializes in cute. I'm talking about the white cat with a red bow and a button nose, whose image adorns everything from school supplies to rifles to RVs.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yes, our last word in business today is: Hello Kitty - in a can.

The Japanese company Sanrio has licensed the pudgy face cartoon cat to a Taiwanese beverage maker which is selling fruit-flavored beer in China and Taiwan.

MONTAGNE: In flavors like: peach, lemon lime, passion fruit and banana - and half the strength of your average lager, reviewers are calling it ridiculously smooth and intoxicatingly sweet.

INSKEEP: And saying it tastes like someone spilled beer in your fruit soda, which may actually be true. Sanrio dismissed claims that the beer is being pitched to underage consumers. Plenty of Hello Kitty fans, they say, are adults.

MONTAGNE: Well, the brand, Steve, has been around for almost 40 years.

INSKEEP: Admit it, Renee. You're a big Hello Kitty fan.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: Yeah, right, everywhere. I've got it all over the studio.

INSKEEP: All over the studios at NPR West.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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