With this latest addition to her merchandising and licensing empire, Hello Kitty makes a giant -- and intoxicating -- step toward global conquest.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, Japanese company Sanrio has partnered with Italy's Torti Winery to release its line of Hello Kitty wines in the United States. It's nothing new to Europe and Asia, where Torti has been distributing the label since 2007, but now it's available to American fans -- at least for those who visit Antonello Ristorante in Santa Ana, California.
It's unclear when the Hello Kitty wines will be available from other outlets -- the article mentions plans to expand distribution -- so you may want to start making travel plans and restaurant reservations now. (The Torti Winery website includes a link to an online store for the U.S. and Canada, but there's no product to be found.)
Torti offers a selection of Hello Kitty wines, including, naturally, Sweet Pink (sparkling rosé), Cupido (sparkling white wine) and Charmy (non-sparkling white).
Introduced in 1974 in Japan, Hello Kitty first graced a little coin purse, but has gone on to appear on products ranging from school supplies and clothing to televisions and high-end jewelry. The little cat girl, who's inspired video games, comic books, animated series and even restaurants, now accounts for about $7 billion a year in sales.