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WSET appoints first dedicated on-territory US team

Published:  05 December, 2017

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has appointed its first dedicated on-territory team for the US wine and spirits market.

The new team, formed by two former WSET students and Certified Educators – David Rudman and Rob McCaughey, had been appointed in response to “dramatic growth" in enrolment in the US market, said the WSET.

Rudman, who joins from spirits distributor Brescome Barton, takes on the role of business development director, while McCaughey, who has been appointed business development manager – spirits, joins from Palate Partners School of Wines & Spirits.

The expertise and market knowledge of the duo, who joins WSET development manager David Wrigley MW in the states, would be invaluable as WSET looked to “further define” its position in the US, while continuing to support and nurture its existing network of Approved Programme Providers (APPs), candidates and graduates, said chief executive, Ian Harris.

The team’s focus would be on engaging with existing APPs, while developing new opportunities for WSET to provide more courses and qualifications across the country, he added.

WSET reported a record 85,487 candidates globally in the academic year finishing July 31, 2017 - a 19% on the previous year, marking 15 years of growth.

The US saw the greatest growth in candidate numbers amongst the top 10 markets, up 48% to 11,487 a significant increase from an annual figure of around 500 students in 2001, with a total of nearly 60,000 candidates having sat a WSET qualification in the US since the turn of the millennium.

Spirits qualifications saw triple digit growth in US candidate numbers last academic year, underlying the need for a specialised business development manager for the category, said the WSET.

The US team marks WSET’s second on-territory function outside of the UK, following the establishment of its first international office in Hong Kong in 2016.