NEW FIGURES from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) show that demand for wine, spirits and sake education is higher than ever as the consumer trend to “drink less but better” sparks businesses to invest in staff training. WSET is reporting a record 85,487 candidates globally in the academic year finishing July 31, an increase of 19% on last year, marking 15 years of growth. The UK continued to lead with candidate numbers up 14% to 19,4O1, yet it was the US that saw the greatest growth amongst the top 1O markets, up 48% to 11,487. In the last year, WSET had over 1OO new Approved Program Providers and there are now 75O Providers offering courses to wine, spirits and sake trade professionals and consumers in over 7O countries. In the US, a total of 5O Approved Program Providers now offer the courses. The new academic year will also see the release of the freshly updated Level 2 Award in Spirits and the availability of a full suite of printed materials for the Level 3 Award in Sake. As consumers demonstrate a growing interest in exploring niche wines and spirits and diverse regions, the beverage trade is seeking out WSET education to keep up with the growing US market. The need for more knowledgeable staff is leading businesses to prioritize formal training and accredited qualifications for staff. To learn more about the programs visit WSETglobal.com.