Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran’s Countertop has partnered with Small Batch Learning to provide free training for Indian hospitality through a dedicated platform. By Holly Graham.

Countertop India – a consultancy that helps alcohol brands and hospitality groups build market success in India founded by bartending veterans Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran – announced a partnership with Small Batch Learning (SBL), a free online training platform for hospitality and retail.

Using SBL’s technology, Countertop will deliver India-specific hospitality training to teams across the country. Arijit and Pankaj are no strangers to training bartenders, with Arijit’s previous roles with Bacardi and Monkey 47 and Pankaj’s current role as brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder.

Training packages will include signature and classic recipes, drink-making tutorials and service know-how, aiming to improve the skills baseline for Indian hotels, bars and restaurants.

“Raising the baseline and bringing hospitality skills up to match the rest of Asia is very much our mission at the moment. At the same time, while brands and other training providers have always focused on bartenders, we have always felt that successful bars run better because floor staff and other departments coordinate to make it so,” says Bose.

He continues: “Floor personnel sell 75% of a bar’s drinks, and SBL’s training system recognises the importance of these other staff. Even kitchen or admin staff can get up to speed with the bar business by training on the platform.”

“Arijit is someone I’ve known for years, from his time bartending at 28 HongKong Street in Singapore,” says Adam Leibrandt, founder and CEO of SBL. “Of course, you don’t form partnerships just because of friendship – but because we believe in the same mission: that professional education is a right, not a privilege; and that if you give hospitality staff world-class training, they will work at world-class levels.”

To access Countertop’s training, visit, and follow the sign-up instructions. Existing SBL users can click on their account photo then “Join an account” and enter the code “countertop”.