WSET to launch beer qualifications

19 June, 2020 by Andy Young

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has announced it is planning to add Level 1 and Level 2 beer qualifications to its portfolio, both online and in the classroom.

WSET is the world’s largest provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications and is now working in partnership with the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) on the initiative. IBD is a global provider of technical education to professional brewers, distillers and associated suppliers, and is lending its expertise to WSET to help with the creation of these beer qualifications.

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Ian Harris, WSET CEO, said: “We are always assessing and investigating opportunities to grow our delivery in the global drinks industry.

“Beer is by far the single largest category in the industry and, with the growth of the craft beer movement, it has become increasingly diverse and complex – so it makes sense for us to bring our educational expertise to the sector.”

Jerry Avis, IBD CEO, added: “The IBD diversified into beer appreciation and flavour training with the acquisition of the Beer Academy over 12 years ago.

“We are now excited to work with WSET to bring that expertise to a global market and to enhance opportunities for both organisations in supporting the brewing and hospitality sectors worldwide.”

While there is no official date yet for the launch, as an initial step, WSET Educator Sara Hobday DipWSET has been appointed Head of Product Development – Beer Qualifications.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to enrich global beer education through the development of WSET courses with IBD,” Hobday said.

“We are constantly receiving enquiries about beer qualifications and many of our course providers have expressed an interest, so it’s great to be able to set the ball rolling.”

Beer is not a totally new subject stream for WSET as, prior to 2005, it was included in its intermediate wine and spirits qualification (equivalent to today’s Level 2). WSET Level 1 and 2 Awards in Beer will be created with both trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts in mind.

The courses will explore the main types and styles of beer, key methods of production, tasting technique and food and beer pairing, following the same well-established principles as the Level 1 and 2 courses in wines and spirits. Courses will initially be developed in English before being translated into other languages.