The Wine & Spirit Education Trust reported a total of 72,171 of its exams taken in the academic year finishing July 31st 2016 — an increase of 17% over last year.
This marks 14 consecutive years of growth, the organization says in a press release.
Founded in 1969, the UK-based WSET has grown into the largest provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits. Government approved, it works with third-party providers to put on training programs around the world. Lessons develop tasting skills and product knowledge. The WSET certifies participants in levels 1-4, with 4 being the most advanced qualification.
The organization reported 15% growth in the amount of exams taken in the U.S. and Canada last year. This number includes:
- A 38% increase in the Level 2 Award in Spirits (256 total), including a large investment by Breakthru Beverage Group in educating their team.
- A 46% increase in the Level 1 Award in Wines and Spirits (1,807 total), including extensive participation from Napa Wine Academy CA, Wine Education Institute in CO, and Washington state outpost of Fine Vintage.
- The U.S. remained the second biggest market for the WSET Level 4 Diploma.
- The newly introduced Level 3 Award in Sake had 77 people take the exam (behind the United Kingdom).
“Another year of strong growth is testament to the outstanding efforts of our staff, course providers and educators the world over,” says Chief Executive Ian Harris. “The wine and spirits industry continues to be a dynamic sector and we are committed to supporting its ongoing success through quality, fit-for-purpose education and training.”
Looking ahead, the new academic year commencing August 2016 will see the development of WSET’s suite of qualifications, with the introduction of the new WSET Level 1 Award in Sake and substantial revamps to the WSET Level 3 Award in Wine and the WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits, the organization says.