Meet The Duo Behind Black Star Liquor Co., A New CBD Drinks Shop In Causeway Bay
In many ways, Causeway Bay is the ideal location for a shop selling cannabidiol, or CBD, products. The hectic streets and crowded crossings of the brightly lit shopping mecca are in deep need of a little relaxation, which can now be found in a unique new shop on Haven Street. Black Star Liquor Co is a dimly lit sanctuary selling CBD-infused products—particularly alcoholic ones—sourced from near and far. While CBD, a legal derivative of the cannabis plant vaunted for its relaxing properties, is not new to the city, the store’s owners, Jeff Wong and Chan Sing-leuk, are adding a local twist to this buzzy new extract and the many products it can be found within.
See also: Where To Get CBD Drinks In Hong Kong
How did you two meet?
Chan: We met on the creative team at an advertising agency where I still work. I’m a copywriter and Jeff is a creative director.
How has CBD helped you?
Wong: We discovered it about a year ago when we were working really long hours and under a lot of pressure. CBD helped me sleep deeply and wake up feeling refreshed. It was like magic. We wanted to create a business that would help people to feel relaxed and calm. The idea is for customers to be able to take time out for themselves and have a break.
Why did you choose this location?
Chan: It was a sudden decision. Jeff and I always talked about selling handcrafted items and having our own shop selling chill products to people. The second we saw this store, we knew we wanted to open it here. We officially opened in December 2020.
Wong: Besides our shop, all the other stores in the area are very local and unique. We love the community and environment of Haven Street.
What kind of CBD drinks do you sell?
Chan: Sake, shochu, umeshu, Japanese handcrafted beer and locally made CBD beer. Our CBD products are sourced worldwide, including some from Oregon and Colorado in the US.
Apart from drinks, what else do you sell?
Wong: I have my own CBD brand, Soon, which I sell in our shop, with some products also stocked in [plant retailer] The Plant of Devil in Tai Hang and in [Japan-themed curiosity shop] Bunkaya Zakkaten in Sham Shui Po. My products include candles, essential oil sprays, lip balms, tea bags, essential rollers, vaporisers, gummies, droppers, beers and kombucha. They are all completely handmade with natural ingredients. I launched our first handcrafted kombucha in January, which comes in four flavours: mixed berry, mango, pink guava and grapefruit. Each 250ml bottle has 50mg of CBD in it, which helps reduce anxiety, improves quality of sleep and promotes calm and relaxation. I also make hand-poured candles in ceramic containers which are packaged with hand-sewn red thread for protection, strength and good luck. We also encourage our customers to bring their containers back for discounted refill services.
See also: 10 Edible CBD Products For Daily Calm
Where is your kombucha made?
Wong: We produce kombucha in a shared kitchen in Tai Hang and sell it in our shop and at Bunkaya Zakkaten. Making kombucha is like being a farmer: in the same way that crops are monitored for the right time to harvest, I’m constantly checking on the drink’s fermentation process to make sure it’s perfect.
What are the challenges of launching a CBD brand in Hong Kong?
Wong: CBD has not been in Hong Kong for long and people have this misconception that it is a drug and that they will become physically and mentally dependent on it. With every customer that comes into the shop wanting to try it for the first time, we try to explain what it is and what our experience has been like with it. Many Hongkongers have high-pressure jobs and poor sleeping habits. Nearly all of our customers hope that CBD will give them better quality of sleep. I would like to be an ambassador for CBD and promote its wellness benefits.
See also: A Beginner's Guide To CBD: What It Is And Where To Find CBD Products In Hong Kong
What skills do you each bring to the business and why do you work well together?
Wong: Sing is our sake expert: he loves to tell our customers the story behind each bottle. He’s the shopkeeper and a Chinese copywriter with strong communication and marketing skills. I am more design and branding focused. Starting this concept has leveraged both of our different expertises.
What are your hopes for the future of the brand?
Chan: I take inspiration from Bob Marley, who once said “Some people feel the rain; others just get wet”. Our products bring not only relaxation but also taste great at the same time. I hope Black Star Liquor Co continues selling unique and tasty liquor to the masses.
Wong: We hope people will appreciate the fact that it’s proudly handcrafted in Hong Kong. Our main goal is to inspire people to live well.
See also: Hong Kong's First Dedicated CBD Cafe And Boutique Opens In Sheung Wan
- Photography Affa Chan