Some bar education platforms are already free, while others are providing free services to support the industry during this difficult time. By Holly Graham.

The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated further than any of us could have fathomed, and the practicing of social distancing and enforced quarantines or lock down laws means the world is online more than ever.

It also means bars and restaurants are being forced to close by government orders or lack of trade, leaving many bartenders in limbo or without work. For those that are looking to expand their learning or brush up on skills, we’ve listed some useful platforms below. While Small Batch Learning is already free, Ananas, JERRY and Bar Smarts have made their platforms free for the time being, enabling those in the bar industry looking to study to make use of downtime during this difficult period.


Ananas – a comprehensive online training and learning platform for the industry, by the industry – is the brainchild of Sven Almening, managing director of Australia’s Speakeasy Group. The platform is currently free throughout April and May for all hospitality staff who want to study and earn certifications, for both new and current users.

Ananas encourage users to start with the Basic Certificate first, but if it’s stuff you already know, skip the training and go straight to the test. The Intermediate Certificate is a good starter for most people in the industry, regardless of previous experience. There are also lots of fun, quirky videos on subjects such as how to use liquid nitrogen in cocktails and how to carry three plates.

Visit the website, select “hospitality workers”, and create an account for free. Please note that currently only the Basic Certificate is available for free, but the rest of the training will be available for free within the next few days.


BarSmarts, sponsored by Pernod Ricard, is a spirits and bartender education program. Currently, you can register for free on the website using the code TRYBARSMARTS before April 30. Once registered, you have 60 days to complete the modules and take the test.

Each module is made up of several chapters made up of reading and video content, and a test of 25 questions that you have two attempts to pass. Once they’ve all been passed, you’ll be able to access the DrinkBuilder final exam, in which you must make seven classic cocktails selected from your previous reading.

Once you’ve passed BarSmarts, you’ll be sent a digital certificate and you can progress onto BarSmarts Advanced if you wish. On the other hand, if BarSmarts is too advanced, you can always start with the beginner BarStarts program. 


Proof & Company’s education platform JERRY is offering free sign up for the JERRY Certificate in Beverage & Hospitality, made up of 24 online courses (30 minutes each) covering all areas, including beverage, hospitality, preparation, operations, ethics and leadership.

Elective courses feature education on classic cocktails and subjects such as the styles of herbal liqueurs, hosting events, the basics of beverage retail and more.

Just visit the JERRY website’s COVID-19 tab and sign up for free.  

Small Batch Learning

Small Batch Learning (SBL) has always been free and always will be, with no limit to how many team members you can onboard. This learning management system enables hospitality operators to train, communicate with, and track the development of staff worldwide.

SBL recently teamed up with wellness platform Healthy Hospo to create a course featuring physical and mental health training that could be particularly useful during this tough time. Plus, on top of free training courses, SBL features include the Virtual Menu, which allows managers to train staff on the products and recipes sold in their venue. Visit the website to register for free.