Education & Scholarships

WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust)

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust was established as an educational charity in 1969. The Worshipful Company of Distillers’ was one of the four ‘founding fathers’, along with the Vintners’ Company (which provided the funding), the Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain (who ran courses through their education committee prior to the WSET), and the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Having originally been set up to educate people who worked, or were intending to work, in the UK wine and spirit industries, the WSET has now expanded into over 70 international markets, and around 30% of all global students have no connection with the industry.

Courses are available in classroom formats at over 800 centres around the world, and online course and examination options are also available, in the three product sectors of wines, spirits and (most recently) Sake. Courses and examinations are also available in 15 languages.

WSET is an Awarding Organisation accredited by the UK government, and WSET qualifications are acknowledged as the ‘gold standard’ for the beverage alcohol industry around the world.

The courses range from Level 1 (which is normally done in a day) through to the Level 4 Diploma, which is the equivalent of the first year of a foundation degree.

In 2015 WSET received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its international growth.

In 2016 WSET opened its first international office in Hong Kong to serve the growing Asian markets, and mainland China is now one of the biggest markets for WSET qualifications, accounting for over 20% of the global total.

In 2017 WSET set up a separate US subsidiary company, with a dedicated on-territory team to manage the American markets, based in Hartford, Connecticut. The USA now accounts for around 22% of our global students.

In the last academic year, 108,000 took an examination leading to a WSET qualification.

Heriot-Watt University 

The Distillers’ Charity’s donation to Heriot-Watt University’s Institute for Brewing & Distilling, which works in partnership with the industry, invests in training and enabling up-and-coming talented distillers to fulfil their vocation and realise their ambitions. Our grants funded a scholarship for the MSc/Post Graduate Diploma for Brewing and Distilling, as well as part-funding the ICBD Doctoral Student in Gin Distillation.

The Institute for Brewing & Distilling 

The IBD is the world’s leading professional body for people working in brewing and distilling. The Distillers’ Charity continues to be a long-standing supporter of the Diploma in Distilling Scholarship, the Diploma in Distilling Module 2 and the Fundamentals of Distilling, where scholarships are awarded to the top students.