WSET spirits applicants up 33%

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has reported its highest annual candidate figures, led by spirits courses, which increased by a third in 2018/19.

In 2018/19 a total of 108,557 candidates took a WSET qualification – breaking the 100,000 barrier for the first time. This represents 15% growth year-on-year.

The WSET’s core subjects – wine, spirits and saké – all witnessed continued double-digit growth. Spirits was the top performer, up 33% compared to 2017/18.

The course provider’s top three markets were the UK, Mainland China and the US.

The UK increased 5% to 20,448 candidates, followed by Mainland China (+20%) with 18,206 and the US (+26%) with 17,416.

India entered the WSET’s top 20 markets for the first time with 50% growth.

The WSET also said that availability of its courses “was stronger than ever” in 2018/2019, with more than 109 new Approved Programme Providers (APPs) opening over the course of the year.

Four new markets – Seychelles, Macedonia, Slovakia and Kenya – launched WSET courses in the last year.

WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “It’s fantastic that we are able to report our best ever candidate figures in our 50th year.

“The growing demand for WSET’s wine, spirits and saké qualifications worldwide demonstrates the importance of setting global standards in wine, spirits and saké education.

“In 1969, the year we were established, we had less than 2,000 candidates in the UK – 50 years on we have over 100,000 candidates across 75 countries.

“I am incredibly proud of the WSET team’s achievement and I am extremely excited about the next 50 years.”

Earlier this year, the WSET launched its Level 3 Award in Spirits in response to demand for “advanced” and “brand neutral” spirits knowledge.

The Level 3 Award will take place at WSET’s London school on 21-26 October 2019, 10-15 February 2020, and 22-27 June 2020.

WSET’s Chicago school in the US will hold the course on 26-31 August 2019, its Las Vegas outpost on 4-9 November 2019, and its New Orleans office on 20-25 April 2020.

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