WSET reports record demand

03 August, 2017

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust claims that demand for wine and spirits education is higher than ever, as more businesses recognise the return on investment in educated staff.

The WSET, the global leader in providing of wines and spirits qualifications, is reporting a record 85,487 candidates globally in the academic year finishing July 31, 2017. That is a 19% increase on last year, marking 15 years of continuous growth.

The UK continued to lead the global table with candidate numbers up 14% to 19,401. Mainland China and the US followed, both reporting growth with candidates up 41% to 12,813 and 48% to 11,487 respectively.

Top 10 WSET Markets for the academic year 2016/17 (growth from previous year):

1. UK (+14%)

2. China (+41%)

3. US (+48%)

4. Canada (+4%)

5. Hong Kong (+16%)

6. France (+32%)

7. Australia (+27%)

8. Taiwan (+5%)

9. South Korea (+13%)

10. Switzerland (+11%)

Trends behind the UK Growth

According to Wine Intelligence UK Landscapes 2016 report (released June 2017) the number of regular wine consumers in the UK has dropped from 29 million two years ago to 28m today. But wine consumers are showing higher spend per bottle and greater product interest when choosing wine to drink both at home and in restaurants, according to WI

The report notes that supermarkets are seeing consumers focus less on discount multi-buy offers and more on region of origin, brand awareness and recommendations, and generally becoming more adventurous with their choices.

Evidence from a new study by Franklin & Sons has revealed similar behaviour for spirits purchasing, with consumers favouring more premium brands.

The need for more knowledgeable staff is therefore greater than ever, says the WSET, encouraging businesses to prioritise formal training and accredited qualifications for staff to cater to customers’ discerning tastes and drive profits.

In the last year, the WSET expanded its global reach with the opening of its first international office in Hong Kong and launching courses in new markets including the Czech Republic and Montenegro. WSET enlisted more than100 new Approved Programme Providers and there are now 750 providers offering WSET courses to wine, spirits and sake trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts in more than 70 countries. In the UK, a total of 243 APPs now offer WSET courses.

This year, as the US remains a strong region for growth across the wine, spirits and sake arenas, the trust says it will be cementing its presence in the market with the appointment of a dedicated team on-territory that will nurture the future potential.

The new academic year will also see the release of the updated Level 2 award in Spirits and the availability of a full suite of printed materials for the Level 3 award in sake.

WSET is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits. WSET qualifications are regulated by the UK Government and have a good reputation worldwide. In the last academic year (2016/17) 85,487 candidates sat for a WSET qualification.

Courses are available in 19 languages and in more than 70 countries, and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. Since 1969 more than half a million individuals have completed a WSET qualification. We currently offer nine qualifications, from one-day beginner courses through to a specialist level diploma.

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