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Demand for wine and spirits education hits record level

Published:  02 August, 2018

Demand for wine and spirits education soared in the past year boosted by a growing thirst for spirits knowledge.

In the past year, the number of candidates taking a wine, spirit or sake course with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) rose11% to 94,822 on a global basis (year to 31 July 2018), according to new figures released today by the organisation.

The popularity of wine education continued to soar, according to the WSET, but consumers’ penchant for spirits – volume has risen 5.8% in the past five years (Euromonitor), played a key part, it said, with 55% growth for Level 2 Award in Spirits and 22% for Level 1.

This albeit was from a small platform with the number of spirit students totaling 4,092 in the 12 months.

“Global demand makes wine education the bread and butter of our business, but it is great to see such high growth in spirits qualifications as we prepare for the launch of the first WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits next year,” said chief executive Ian Harris.

In terms of markets, continued growth puts China top of the table with the highest total number of WSET candidates - the region brought in 9% more candidates over the last academic year, totalling 21,986 overall.

The UK remained strong with a total of 19,460 candidates, matching last year, while the US saw the strongest growth of the top three markets with candidate numbers up 24% to 14,204.

The WSET’s new and enhanced qualifications are due to launch in August, completing the separation of the qualifications into three distinct subject-matter streams - wine, spirits and sake.