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Speaker Profile

Pankaj Balachandran
Mr Pankaj Balachandran

Brand Director. Short Story; co-founder Countertop India; Bar Tesouro, Goa; Mr. Jerry’s Cocktails.

Pankaj is a sommelier, hotelier, and entrepreneur who has established renowned brands, cocktail rooms and bars. Currently serving as the Brand Director of Short Story, Pankaj has propelled the brand to make an impact in the Indian alcoholic beverage movement. Under his leadership, the brand has not only attained success in the domestic market but also international acclaim with multiple awards. 

Pankaj's expertise extends to consulting services at Countertop India Beverage Services–a unique talent pool of industry specialists. Countertop India has successfully set up numerous bars in India and abroad, creating a solid foundation for Indian bars and bartenders. Additionally, he co-founded Tesouro, which reached a rank of #4 on the Asia 50 Best Bars 2022, before closing. His concoctions, including the famous "Midnight Brekkie," have earned global recognition. Earlier, he served as the Ambassador of Monkey Shoulder, contributing significantly to the brand's success in India.

He also played a significant role in the establishment of Hoots, a cocktail room in Vasant Vihar, Delhi which earned a spot on the prestigious 50 Best List in 2019. Before this, he successfully managed two renowned venues, Varq and Ricks, at the Taj Mansingh Hotel.

Pankaj has represented India at various alcobev conventions and Cocktail Weeks, conducting master classes and showcasing India's offerings to the world.