WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits

This hands-on course is an ideal starting point for those embarking on a career in spirits or hospitality, or enthusiasts wanting to get to grips with a range of key spirit styles.

Course information

This confidence-boosting spirits course for beginners is the perfect way to gain knowledge of the key styles of distilled beverage found around the world.

In a short space of time, you’ll find yourself feeling more confident navigating a drinks list, stocking up your bar, and serving spirits optimally. 

The course will cover:

  • The basic principles of spirit production
  • The main types and styles of spirits
  • Factors affecting the flavour of spirits
  • Tutored tastings of 10 spirits (classroom courses only)
  • How to serve spirits
  • How to describe spirits using the WSET Level 1 Systematic Approach to Tasting Spirits® (SAT)

By the end of the course you’ll be able to taste and describe spirits using a globally-recognised approach, identify important styles of spirits, and know the raw materials and production methods that define them.

The Level 1 Award in Spirits exam consists of 30 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 45 minutes. To pass you must correctly answer 70% of the questions.

Successful students will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin. All examinations must be sat in person at WSET School London (excluding students who are studying online).

This qualification is Ofqual regulated.

No prior spirits knowledge is required, just enthusiasm! All our classes are delivered in English therefore a good level of English is beneficial.

You must be at least 18 years old to enrol on any of our courses. 

There is no need to prepare anything before starting the WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits. However, anyone embarking on a WSET course should familiarise themselves with the qualification specification. This document will help you understand what to expect and what you will get out of the course.

Want to familiarise yourself with the spirits before the course starts? Check out this 10-sample tasting set, created by The Spirit Study with input from WSET educators (UK delivery only).

Study options

We have two study options available for this course at WSET School London. 


1. Day release course | £210

  • Where: WSET School London
  • Duration: 9:00am-5.00pm on one day (includes exam)
  • Private study: Not required. There are recapping and revision exercises throughout the day
  • Samples: In-class spirit samples included*
  • Includes: Your workbook, 10 spirit samples, six hours of tuition, your examination, and exclusive offers via our Student Deals Card
  • Who: Those who want to complete the course as quickly as possible

*Want to familiarise yourself with the spirits before the course starts or refresh your knowledge after the course? Check out this 10-sample tasting set, created by The Spirit Study with input from WSET educators. 


2. Enhanced online course | £160

  • Where: Online via WSET’s Online Classroom*
  • Duration: Four weeks self-guided study to be completed around your schedule
  • Private study: At least three hours a week
  • Samples: Spirits not included. We recommend you taste a minimum of six spirits and you‘ll get guidance on what styles to taste**
  • Includes: Access to WSET's Online Classroom for one year, a dedicated online tutor, your examination, and exclusive offers via our Student Deals Card
  • Enhanced features: Revision videos, flash cards and exam tips
  • Who: Those who need a flexible study option, international students or those far away from our classroom centres
  • Technology requirements: We recommend that you use a laptop or desktop device and have a reliable internet connection. To sit your examination online you will also need one additional smart device such as a smartphone or tablet

*More information on how online examinations work will be shared with you once you enrol. If you are a student in Mainland China or the UAE, it’s not possible for you to take the exam online due to technological restrictions.

**Want help sourcing samples? For those studying in the UK, this sample tasting set created by The Spirit Study is a great option. It contains 10 x 30ml samples of the various spirits discussed throughout the course.

Online study FAQs


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Course dates

Start date Study option: Availability
12 Apr 2023 Day release 9 Book Now
1 May 2023 Online 10+ Book Now
30 May 2023 Day release 10+ Book Now
22 Jun 2023 Day release 10+ Book Now
26 Jun 2023 Online 10+ Book Now
31 Jul 2023 Day release 10+ Book Now
It was such a brilliant experience! From my point of view it was great to taste so many products in an unbiased and marketing-free environment.

Kristiane Sherry, Editor – The Spirits Business