Main image

WSET links with The Three Drinkers on Drinklusive

Main image

As part of our role at the hub of the global drinks industry, we are committed to helping create a more inclusive, diverse and sustainable industry. We are therefore delighted to be the education partner for The Three Drinkers' new Drinklusive initiative - the UK’s first inclusivity incubator for drinks-focused content creators and aspiring writers 

The Drinklusive programme has selected select six people from across the LGBTQIA+, ethnic minority and disability diversity communities (with socio-economic status also taken into account) for a fast-tracked mentorship programme 

Over a six-month period from February July 2024, these six aspiring writers will embark on a comprehensive training programme to help them gain a thorough understanding of the drinks industry and drinks culture. Alongside one-to-one training and mentoring sessions, each mentee will be given the opportunity to take WSET Level 2 and 3 Awards in wine or spirits. At the end of the programme, they will have all the tools they need to progress to the next steps of their desired career in the drinks industry.  

Mentees will be paid to create content for The Three Drinkers and receive a guaranteed commission for The Independent, as well as a commission on Jancis Robinson’s renowned wine platform, They will also receive social media training to boost their online profiles and gain insight into the drinks industry through monthly seminars with industry experts. Finally, they will be invited to work at London Wine Fair (in a paid capacity) to gain a deep and personal understanding of drinks culture.   

Aidy Smith, Managing Director of The Three Drinkers, commented: “Since I joined this industry a decade ago, it’s been my mission to welcome more diverse faces into it. Being the only TV presenter in the UK with Tourette's Syndrome and one of the few openly LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent personalities in the drinks world has allowed me to see how much work needs to be done and I’m now in a position to influence that change.

One of the key components of DRINKLUSIVE is to arm our mentees with the education, knowledge, and qualifications they need to thrive within the industry. I can think of no better educational partner than the globally renowned WSET. Our mentees will benefit from gaining a deep understanding of either wine or spirits as they embark on the WSET Level 2 and 3 Awards in their chosen category. Many of our mentees are simply not in a socioeconomically viable position to be able to afford courses that broaden their drinks wisdom, making this partnership incredibly valuable to the mentorship.” 

Michelle Brampton, WSET CEO commented: “We’re passionate about increasing diversity and inclusivity in the drinks industry. It’s at the heart of our purpose - to empower people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world. We’re delighted to be the education partner for this unique initiative which will undoubtedly change these six aspiring drinks writers’ lives and give them valuable experience and insight to support their ambitions.”

Other partners for the Drinklusive project include Jancis Robinson, Global Brands, the London Wine Fair and The Independent. 

Fowwaz Ansari 

A person working behind a bar

Fowwaz was born in the UK but grew up in Pakistan before returning to attend university when he was 18. It was during his studies that he grew an affinity for bartending whilst working in various pubs and bars part-time. Upon graduation, rather than going down the graduate jobs route, he opted for a career behind the stick. Since doing so, his passion for food and drinks has only increased in breadth and depth. Having sharpened his senses for the past 8 years in the industry, he is currently taking on the challenge of being head bartender at one of Edinburgh's most exciting up-and-coming independent bars; Bittersweet Leith. When coming up with signature drinks for the bar, Fowwaz very often turns his head to his heritage and the culinary culture that surrounds it for inspiration and you can often find him nose-deep in a book looking to expand his knowledge. 

Latoya Austin 

A person in black clothing, smiling towards the camera

Latoya grew up as a cocktail lover due to her upbringing where Caribbean cocktails such as rum punch, sorrel and rum were produced for special occasions. She was introduced to the world of wine through her studies of French at school and university and her interest grew further through her travels leading her to become a travel writer alongside her regular day job. When journeying around the world, she can often be found sampling local traditional drinks such as soju in South Korea. Latoya is particularly interested in aspects of wine tourism and during the lockdowns she took the opportunity to discover more of the local English vineyards within the burgeoning English wine scene. She’d love to learn more about the lesser-known wine regions, such as Uruguay, Bulgaria and more. 

Miley Kendrick 

A person serving a cocktail behind a bar counter

Miley fell head over heels for bartending the second she stepped behind a bar at the young age of eighteen, where she underwent about the most intense training possible from old school cocktail bar, Be at One. Slinging drinks is a natural fit for a musician and frontwoman, providing a stage to be herself, create, and be playful. Since making the move to independent bars in 2021, Miley has won two UK cocktail competitions and competed on a global scale in Sweden and Mexico. Everything Miley does is a means to creating the most whimsical life possible for herself; her drive to fill her world with art fuels her passion for writing, crafting cocktails, or playing guitar. 

Will Wong 

A person in front of a bright yellow background

Previously a management consultant and theatre director, Will is now a professional photographer who began shooting wine and glassware seriously during the Covid lockdowns. If wine is liquid geography or poetry, the ultimate litmus tests for him are whether the beverage takes you down memory lane, or better still, transports you to a time and place you have never been. His goal is to tell compelling stories about the people and places behind the labels. Being a certified Climate Aware Photographer, he enjoys researching how vines and winemaking are adapting to and evolving with our changing climate. When he’s not enjoying press tastings, print magazines or Formula One, you will find Will sharing his experiences of food & wine/spirits pairings on his Instagram account @fino_vino_malts. 

Zach Sapato

A person standing in front of large wooden barrels

Zach Sapato is a bartender and intentional experience designer from the US, who now calls Scotland home. He is a US & UK National Swizzle Cocktail Champion - as well as holding four other US & UK national cocktail titles. In recognition of his efforts founding HospoHang - a hospitality community collective based in Glasgow - Zach was given the Hospitality Hero award from the Scottish Licensed Trade. He has done educational seminars at international conferences on Intentional Experience Design and Hospitality Community Building. He really likes cool pals, genuine hospitality, charity shops, tater tots, and blue drinks. You'll probably like him. 

Robbie Jerram

A person taking a selfie and smiling

Robbie’s love for botanicals and mixology was inherited from the female drink-makers in her family, her Mum and Nans. She began her journey in drinks working behind the bar in local Hampshire pubs, before moving on to moonlighting as a bartender at a London hotel during her student years. Her passion for gin truly blossomed in her 20s, when she landed her dream job as a flight attendant serving G&Ts to British holidaymakers at 30,000 feet. Now in her 50s, her love for gin and botanicals has remained constant and she enjoys nothing more than sharing her knowledge and gin cocktails with her gin pals, family and friends. You can find Robbie on social media @thefairyginmother and very soon on her Gin App which will be launching in March 2024 @ginpodapp.