The annual award was founded in honour of spirits expert and educator Mark Ridgwell, who helped to develop the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)'s first spirits course in 2004. Ridgwell passed away at the end of 2018, having trained many of the industry's leading professionals.
The scholarship will offer six bartenders a place on a WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits course with tuition funded by Downey, who also owns The Rushmore Group, parent company of renowned bar Milk & Honey. For years, Ridgwell worked as The Rushmore Group's in-house educator.
'At London Union, we are delighted to be able to continue the work of the wonderful partnership that The Rushmore Group had with Mark Ridgwell over the many years, and also continue to champion the importance of spirits education for the future of the bar industry,' Downey said.
To apply, bartenders should request a form via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will then be assessed by scholarship moderators Kevin Armstrong, beverage director of London Union, Hannah Sharman-Cox of Drink.Up London and Hannah Lanfear, founder of The Mixing Class.
'Mark Ridgwell was an enormous inspiration to those who experienced his teaching, he was a dedicated professional and world class spirits educator,' commented Armstrong. 'It’s our hope that another generation of the industry can be inspired to flourish using spirits education as their springboard.'
Applications close on 18 September.