Malaysia's Bar Trigona named Asia's most sustainable bar for second year running

Bar Trigona at Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur has won the Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 Sustainable Bar Award for the second year running. Photo: The World's 50 Best Bars

Bar Trigona at Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur has won the Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 Sustainable Bar Award for the second year running.

The first of a series of pre-announced special awards given out ahead of the official announcement of the 2020 Asia's 50 Best Bars list on May 14, the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award recognises bars that exemplify the highest commitment to sustainability, ethical sourcing and the wider bar community.

The award is another cap in the feather of Bar Trigona, which is known for several sustainable initiatives that include sourcing their ingredients from local small producers as much as possible.

According to head bartender and bar manager Ashish Sharma, the biggest challenges he faced in running a sustainable bar in Malaysia was the lack of awareness of passionate farmers in Malaysia. "We believe there is still a lot to do to support the local farmers," he said in a phone interview.

The bar's name, comes from the trigona honey it regularly uses in its cocktails, which it also sources locally from Dino Kelulut’s organic trigona honey farm in Negeri Sembilan.

Bar Trigona head bartender and bar manager Ashish Sharma.Bar Trigona head bartender and bar manager Ashish Sharma.Their collaboration with Dino Kelulut led to an innovative 'Adopt A Bee Hive' program in which consumers could adopt a hive at Dino Kelulut's farm for a year, which also entitles them to bring home any honey that particular hive produces.

"We're really proud of the Adopt A Bee Hive program. With the help of local and international consumers, we have been able to put in more than 80 hives the last five months, and that really helped our trigona bee farmer at Negeri Sembilan."

Other local producers they work regularly with include Malaysian single origin chocolate producers Chocolate Concierge, an Shah Alam-based fig producers Mutiara Figs Garden.

Trigona was also the first Malaysian bar to adopt the revolutionary ecoSPIRITS technology, which aims to reinvent spirits packaging in a way that helps sustainability and reduce the use of glass bottles to package spirits.

Among other sustainable efforts the bar practises include minimising waste by using as many parts of each ingredient as possible, as well as reducing the use of plastics by not using straws and buying ingredients in bulk to reduce plastic packaging.

With the movement control order forcing the bar to close right now, Bar Trigona will be launching a takeaway menu for their cocktails, and also make products from the local farm products they work with available for online deliveries.

"The new menu at Bar Trigona will focus on food wastage and revolve around the "Life Cycle Of Fruit". One third of of every fruit goes into the garbage bin without being consumed, so we would like to educate people about how can you use the fruit in different ways to reduce the waste and make most of it," he said.

Bar Trigona was one of three Malaysian bars listed in last year's Asia's 50 Best Bars 2019, alongside Coley and JungleBird. This year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars list will be announced via a virtual countdown on May 14.

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