Everything You Need To Know About The Bar Back Collective

By Yamini Walia January 2, 2019
The Team Bar Back Collective. Image Source: www.dssc.co/

It was just a while back that I was browsing the internet and stumbled upon the Bar Back Collective. When we go to a bar or event, we usually have a good time but don’t think past what drink we plan to order. This group, the BBC, are the ones who are behind multiple bars across the city and provide services like curating events, wine and beverage training programs, beverage consultations and brand advocacy and marketing!

I spoke to Pankaj Balachandran, one of the founders and their wine expert, about Bar Back Collective and the work they do.

Tell us about Bar Back Collective – how it was founded, the inspiration and how the journey has been so far. 

Bar Back Collective was formed by a group of four individuals who wanted to do something above and beyond their current jobs. While the idea was in part a selfish pursuit of creative opportunities that exist within the beverage industry, it was fuelled by how far behind the Indian contingent was to its peers around the world. 

The journey has been fantastic so far. We have managed to work with global brands to make them relatable to the Indian audience and at the same time elevated new and existing bars in India to make them just as good if not better than their peers around the world. 

Mexican Mules - A Bar Back Collective Special

Mexican Mules – A Bar Back Collective Special

Your brand has a really interesting name. How did you come up with it?

A bar back is someone who helps the bartender. They are the people who work in the shadows but make the bartender look good and support them along the way. This is exactly what we want to be. We want to be enablers for the industry to grow and do better without necessarily taking centre stage ourselves.

What makes your brand unique?

We don’t compromise. We don’t take every single project that comes our way because when we do, we want to make it the best we have ever done! We are comprised of four very unique individuals with very different backgrounds and viewpoints of the same industry. 

Bar Back Collective specialises in Mixology workshops. Image Source

Bar Back Collective specialises in Mixology workshops. Image Source

Can you elaborate on the various services you offer?

Our services can mainly be boxed into three:

1. Brands – Represent and activate beverage brands to help them build their presence in India. This is done primarily in Brand Ambassador roles and through events that we help organise and execute.

2. Bars – We help set up beverage programs and often even the physical bar space for new bars that want to open up across India. We also take existing bars and revamp their drink programs to make them relevant to the contemporary drinker.

3. Everything else – We recently organised a gin festival in Bangalore as a fun demonstration of where we could take the drinks industry. We flew down a number of international bartenders to elevate the experience as a whole and also start one of the first dialogues between us and the international bar community.

Bar Back Collective organised a Gin Sling festival in Bangalore

Bar Back Collective organised a Gin Sling festival in Bangalore

If you had to describe your audience, how would you do that?

The bars and brands we work with want to do something truly different, but not at all whimsical. These are people who want quality at the end of the day and we keep that in mind while conceptualizing and executing.

Which bars have you consulted with in Mumbai?

We have consulted with as well as set up a few bars in Mumbai. We started with Bastian and One Street Over when it opened. We have also set up Xico at Kamala mills, Uno Más at BKC and Thirsty City 127 At Todi Mills.

A Twist on Julep - A Bar Back Collective special at Xico

A Twist on Julep – A Bar Back Collective special at Xico

Do you have any upcoming events in the city?

We will soon be rolling out a beverage centric event in the city. More on that later!

I am sure after reading this article, you can’t wait to learn about Bar Back Collective. Check out their website to learn more and stay tuned for their beverage event in Mumbai.