WSET to reinvigorate Academy of Food and Wine service in new partnership

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has teamed up with Institute of Hospitality (IOH) to jointly manage and reinvigorate the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), a professional body for front of house staff in the hospitality industry.

The Academy of Food & Wine Service was set up in 1988 and has been managed by the Institute of Hospitality since 2017.

As part of the new agreement, the WSET will manage the drinks and sommelier-related elements, while the IOH and manage activities related to restaurant management and food service.

The organisation said it would allow the two organisations to focus on their core strengths, with the WSET drawing on its 50 year experience in supporting the wider hospitality industry with best-in-class wines, spirits and sake qualifications, while the IOH will focus on its core strengths in providing a compelling membership package to hospitality managers throughout the UK and globally,

The WSET’s UK business development director Graham Cox said there was a real synergy between the activities of WSET and AFWS.

“Taking ownership of the beverage/sommelier side of the academy is a great strategic fit for us,” he said. “We will be able to add enormous value to the sommelier community here in the UK and globally via the Academy’s membership of the Association Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). I am confident that reinvigorating AFWS together with closer collaboration between WSET and IOH will benefit the wider UK hospitality industry going forward.”

The IOH’s chief executive Peter Ducker said the alliance would strengthen the AFWS brand as each organisation played to its strengths.

“The result will be to enable AFWS to become the go-to organisation for skills development and thought leadership, and through competitions they will recognise the best of the best and inspire others to excel.  IOH and WSET are leaders in their fields so this new alliance is exciting and ground-breaking,” he said.

The AWFW will continue to run its well-known competitions, the UK Sommelier of the Year, under the guidance of Nicolas Clerc MS, and UK Restaurant Manager of the Year led by John Cousins.

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