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Hong Kong's Penicillin bar wins Asia's 50 Best Sustainable Bar Award

Penicillin becomes the third bar to get this award since Asia's 50 Best launched it in 2018

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta

In less than a year since their opening in Hong Kong, Penicillin bar, founded by bar industry veteran Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale (previously The Old Man, number one Asia's Best Bars 2019), has managed to capture the interest of the drinking public with their closed-loop bar concept that champions sustainability at its core. Now, the sustainable bar nabs Asia's 50 Best Sustainable Bar Award for 2021, taking the spot from Malaysia's Bar Trigona, who held the title for two years since 2019. 

Penicillin team

Penicillin bar opened in November 2020, taking up 1,520sq ft of space of the former Buddha Lounge on Hollywood Road. Named after the modern classic cocktail, Penicillin (made with honey, lemon, ginger, a strong dose of Scotch, and a splash of smoky Islay whisky) and the antibiotic in which the cocktail got its name, the bar creates drinks with an eco-friendly twist that will not only cure any cocktail fix but hopefully the bar industry's quandaries on sustainability. Operating with a lab, bar, kitchen, and a fermentation room, the venue focuses on recycling and upcycling ingredients that would typically end up in the bin. From upcycling potato peels into bar snacks, recycling paper and leftover ingredients into handmade bottle labels, and utilising local ingredients to help conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions created by the import industry, the bar has been creatively thinking of new ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Recently, the bar also launched its One Penicillin, One Tree cocktail ($110) initiative that plants one native Mallotus Muticus tree (also called the swamp tree) in the Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo. Each One Penicillin, One Tree cocktail (the ingredients and offering will change every season) saves an average of 150g in CO2 emissions. 

Penicillin bottled cocktails($128)

The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award was first introduced to Asia's 50 Best Bars in 2018, recognising Indonesia's Potato Head Beach Club as its first awardee. The awardees' sustainability rating is assessed by Food Made Good Global through a system specially adapted from their restaurant rating, which has been used to assess sustainability for over 10 years. Bars on Asia's 50 Best Bars list are invited to nominate their venues for the award. The bar that gets the highest sustainable rating receives the award. 

Penicillin hopes to inspire more people and businesses to take steps to become more eco-conscious and do more for the future generation. "We feel super happy, excited, overwhelmed, and honoured to receive this award," shares the Penicillin team. "Penicillin is still very young in the industry, we really don’t expect this, but it means a lot to us. It proves that our attempts and efforts have been recognised by others. This encourages us to work harder to adhere, and implement sustainability by all means in our daily operations. And we will take it as a responsibility to be a pioneer in the industry, to influence our friends to join hands with us to protect the planet."

For more information and to see updates from the bar, visit them on Instagram via @penicillin_bar

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