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Aidy Smith launches mentorship program for aspiring drinks writers

Published:  11 December, 2023

Founded by drinks presenter and journalist Aidy Smith, DRINKLUSIVE aims to support aspiring drinks writers and content creators from diverse communities. The scheme boasts the support of several industry leaders including Global Brands, Jancis Robinson MW and the WSET.

Six mentees will be onboarded across LGBTQIA+, ethnic minority and disability diversity communities with socio-economic status also considered. Each program will take place over six months with the first starting in January 2024. 

Aidy Smith (pictured), founder of DRINKLUSIVE and newly appointed MD of The Three Drinkers, said: “Since I joined this industry a decade ago, it’s been my mission to welcome more diverse faces into it. Being the only TV presenter in the UK with Tourette's Syndrome and one of the few openly LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent personalities in the drinks world has allowed me to see how much work needs to be done and I’m now in a position to influence that change”. 

He continued: “I’m so humbled by the support of like-minded people in the industry who want to be a part of this movement and I hope it inspires others to support where they can too."

Each mentee will receive WSET Level 2 and 3 training for wine or spirits to help them raise their credentials and gain access to key education. 

Michelle Brampton, WSET CEO added: “We’re passionate about increasing diversity and inclusivity in the drinks industry. It’s at the heart of our purpose which is to empower people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world. We’re delighted to be the education partner for this unique initiative which will undoubtedly change these six aspiring drinks writers’ lives and give them valuable experience and insight to support their ambitions.”

Mentees will be paid to create content for The Three Drinkers content hub and receive a guaranteed commission from The Independent alongside a commission on Jancis Robinson's wine platform, They will also be invited to work at the London Wine Fair in a paid capacity to harness a deep and personal understanding of wine and spirits culture.

Annabel Grossman, executive editor (e-commerce) for The Independent said: “The Independent is constantly striving to improve diversity among our journalists to ensure our articles reflect the fullest possible range of perspectives and experiences. We are thrilled to be partnering with the inclusivity incubator and excited to work with these new voices in the drinks space.”

Speaking to the program's potential and wider industry representation, Jancis Robinson MW added: “It is just so obvious that the world of wine will benefit if we take steps to widen the pool of people who populate it. It will undoubtedly be enriched. And now that for the first time in my career wine drinking is decreasing, we should be welcoming everyone in. It’s crazy how narrow the mainstream world of wine has been up to now.”

Applicants can apply via The Three Drinkers website from 11 December 2023 – 1 January 2024.