The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications, has appointed a dedicated team in the USA.
The USA is WSET’s fastest growth market and one of its top three markets in terms of total candidate numbers. WSET has appointed a team on-territory to support and develop the growth of candidates for WSET’s suite of qualifications, offered in 50 Approved Programme Providers (APPs) across the country, ensuring compliance with WSET’s globally renowned standards and the USA market criteria.
David Rudman has been appointed as the new USA Business Development Director and Rob McCaughey has been announced as USA Business Development Manager – Spirits.
Both Rudman and McCaughey have extensive experience of WSET, both as students, and as Certified Educators; Rudman joins from Brescome Barton Inc, the largest distributor of spirits and wine in the state of Connecticut, and McCaughey joins from Palate Partners School of Wines and Spirits in Pittsburgh.
Commenting on the new appointment, Ian Harris, WSET Chief Executive said: “I am delighted to welcome Dave and Rob to the WSET team, their expertise and market knowledge will be invaluable as we look to further define WSET’s position in the USA, while continuing to support and nurture our existing network of APPs, candidates and graduates”
Rudman commented: "I look forward to expanding WSET’s presence in the US market and leveraging the importance of formal certifications in wines, spirits and sake within the dynamic US drinks sector."
WSET reported a record 85,487 candidates globally in the academic year finishing July 31 2017, an increase of 19% on the previous year, marking 15 years of growth. The USA saw the greatest growth in candidate numbers amongst the top 10 markets, up 48% to 11,487. This is dramatically up from an annual figure of around 500 students in 2001 and means that a total of nearly 60,000 candidates have sat for a WSET qualification in the USA since the turn of the millennium.
Spirits qualifications in particular saw triple digit growth in US candidate numbers last academic year, underlying the need for a specialised Business Development Manager for the spirits category.
The new recruits join London-based WSET International Development Manager, David Wrigley MW, who has been responsible for WSET’s development in the USA to date. The team will focus on engaging with existing Approved Programme Providers, whilst developing new opportunities for WSET to provide more courses and qualifications across the country.
The USA team marks WSET’s second on-territory function outside of the UK, following the establishment of its first international office in Hong Kong in 2016.