WSET to branch out into beer qualifications

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications, has announced its intention to develop a suite of beer qualifications.

WSET already offers qualifications in three subject areas – wine, spirits and sake – and plans to add two beer qualifications (Levels 1 and 2) to its portfolio, both online and in the classroom.

While development of these new qualifications is still in the early stages, WSET is working in partnership with the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) on this initiative. IBD, a global provider of technical education to professional brewers, distillers and associated suppliers, is lending its expertise to WSET in the creation of its beer qualifications.

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.

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.”

There are no official dates for the launch but, as an initial step, WSET Educator Sara Hobday DipWSET has been appointed Head of Product Development – Beer Qualifications. Sara comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to enrich global beer education through the development of WSET courses with IBD. 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.”

Jerry Avis, IBD CEO, said, “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.”

To learn more about WSET’s online courses visit

*A global survey of WSET Approved Course Providers (APPs) carried out in January 2020, showed that more than 60% of respondents were interested in or very interested in providing beer qualifications.

About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust

  • Set up in 1969, WSET is the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications.
  • WSET offers qualifications across four levels – from one-day beginner courses through to an expert level diploma – to both industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. Courses are delivered by 800+ Approved Programme Providers in over 70 countries and are available in more than 15 languages.
  • WSET is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual, the English regulator of qualifications and examinations. All WSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge.
  • In the last academic year (2018/19) over 100,000 candidates sat for a WSET qualification and, since 1969, WSET has awarded nearly one million individuals a WSET qualification.
  • For more information about WSET, please visit

About the Institute of Brewing & Distilling

  • With a history stretching back to 1886 the IBD is a global provider of technical education to professional brewers, distillers and associated suppliers.
  • Every year the IBD registers c. 4,000 candidates in 90 countries to sit exams at one of four levels from foundation to master and with a scope ranging from malting through brewing and distilling to the packaging of cider, beers and spirits.
  • With a focus on high quality technical education the IBD has invested heavily in the production of both online and face to face courses to engage learners at every level of qualification.
  • As a charity with individual members the IBD has c. 4,000 members worldwide and runs an extensive series of networking events, seminars and conventions every year.
  • For more information about the IBD please visit
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