Genie Juicery Co-Founder Cara McIlroy: ‘Glass Bottles Were Always The Plan’

5 Mins Read

Refreshing, thirst-quenching and jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals, cold-pressed juices are our go-to method of hydration and nourishment on busy, hectic workdays! And Hong Kong’s OG juice bar, Genie Juicery, is still our number one stop when it comes to grabbing a drink.

Genie opened its doors back in 2011, way before Hong Kong went gaga for green juice. Founders Cara McIlroy (yes, that Cara) and Melanie Barnish are the original juice queens,  and are credited with helping to launch the cold-pressed craze. Seven years on, they remain a mainstay on Hong Kong’s wellness scene. They recently shook things up with just-launched healthy menu additions, a renewed commitment to sustainable packaging and a new superfood crush. We catch up with the founders and their team to find out what’s happening chez Genie. 

Blue Is The New Black: The Spirulina Show

Blue is the new green in the wellness world: Genie is the first in Hong Kong to introduce blue spirulina to a variety of seriously insta-worthy product lines. Dubbed one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world, spirulina is the ultimate plant protein. It boasts a complete amino acid profile and is high in loads of vitamins and minerals like copper and iron.

Genie’s Blue Moon is a combination of raw coconut water and blue spirulina, the ideal blend of antioxidants & electrolytes- you can quench your thirst while nourishing your brain! Or, if you’re craving something a bit more substantial to keep you fuller for longer, go for an energizing Mermaid Mylk smoothie, loaded with avocado, lychee, almond, dates, vanilla bean and a dash of pink Himalayan salt (as well as spirulina of course).

For some serious hydration power, look for Lemongrass Water in the Cleansing Water selection to add flavor and nutrition to your daily drink. Blended with blue spirulina, cinnamon, and raw maple with citrusy lemongrass, this herbal water is great for digestion (lemongrass) and loaded with antioxidants (cinnamon), while the spirulina helps to detoxify heavy metals from the body.

Drinks 2.0: Juices That BOOST You

Also worth a go are the Body Builder and the Blood Orange. Are your post-workout smoothies up to par? If not, the Body Builder is a must-try. With banana, blueberry, cacao, and raw vegan organic protein powder, this lean protein shake will fuel your workout routine and aid in muscle recovery and growth. Finally, the latest Blood Orange cold-pressed juice is raw goodness with every sip. Featuring orange, carrot, pineapple, pear, beetroot, and ginger, healthy living is so much easier with this vitamin-filled bottle of fruits and veggies.

We would be remiss not to mention our favourite Genie juice of all: the Green Queen! Named for yours truly, it’s a refreshing blend of apple, lime, ginger, spinach, celery and cucumber and one their of top bestsellers, we are told!

Most people probably don’t realize that Genie is also one of Hong Kong’s best vegan coffee shops: they serve delicious hot beverages all-year round including a killer turmeric latte made with fresh cold-pressed turmeric root- the elixir you need to beat cold & flu season. Also on the menu is a range of vegan coffee, chai tea, bullet proof coffee and more. Oh and the best part? You can opt for your favorite plant-based milk, from hazelnut to almond to soy-it’s up to you! Just remember to #BringYourOwnCup.

A Glass Act: Reusable Bottles Have Arrived

In keeping with their ethos, aka nourishing healthy bodies and the ecosystem, the company has begun a new eco era by phasing out their former biodegradable plastic containers and introducing premium glass bottles. “Moving away from plastic has always been a top priority for us but finances and the task to execute the project made it slightly more challenging than we imagined, but we got there in the end,” says co-founder Cara McIlroy. “We never lost sight of that dream and its importance to us and the environment. I think as a business owner now we have a responsibility to make these changes as single-use plastic is a devastating result of the F&B industry. If small companies like ours can make the change, imagine what impact there would be if big companies like Maxims and McDonalds followed suit. It would be positively life changing for our planet and my dream is that we see them do so in the near future. For now, we can start to make the change.”

Genie encourages customers to return their used bottles where they will be cleaned and sterilised for reuse, a true showcase of the circular economy at work and a step beyond simply recycling. Customers are also compensated for their environmental commitment: each returned bottle begets a stamp on their loyalty card programme, which can eventually be exchanged for a free juice.

New Eats: Buddha Bowls, Salads & More

Genie has always been the perfect place to get hydrated post-sweat or mid-workday but did you know they also have a delicious menu of nourishing eats? From lunch wraps to hearty soups, healthy snacks to sweets, Genie makes it easy and tasty to stay healthy for herbivores and flexitarians alike. We are especially crushing on their Budhha Bowl and their salad line. Popular picks include the Kale & Mushroom, Asian Invasion, and Over the Rainbow, but we’re most excited about their most recent creation: the Pesto Quinoa Salad. Made with fresh butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms and arugula and featuring their homemade pesto sauce, it’s both light and filling!

Visit Genie Juicery: 2096B, Podium Level 2, ifc Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, +852 2644 5875, Open Monday – Friday from 7:00AM – 8:00PM; Saturday and Sunday from 10:00AM – 8:00PM; Public Holidays from 10:00AM – 6:00PM. 

All images courtesy of Genie Juicery.

This article is a Green Queen Partner Feature. 


  • Jenny Star Lor

    Jenny Star Lor is Green Queen’s resident eco wellness writer. She is passionate about reducing her carbon footprint, loves all things fitness and enjoys tasting her way through Hong Kong’s veggie dining options. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls Hong Kong home. Previously, she wrote and reported for global publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and US Weekly. She is also a passionate pole dancer and teaches classes across Hong Kong.

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