WSET and Institute of Hospitality to jointly manage Academy of Food & Wine Service

Lucy Britner

27 September 2019

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Institute of Hospitality (IoH) have signed an agreement to jointly manage the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS).

The agreement, which came into play on 23 September, sees the WSET take over the beverage and sommelier-related elements of the AFWS, while the IoH will continue to manage all activities related to restaurant management and food service.

The AFWS, set up in 1988, is the professional body for front-of-house food and beverage service in the UK hospitality industry. It had been managed by the IoH since 2017.

The WSET’s UK business development director Graham Cox told Imbibe that prior to discussion around the partnership, the WSET had started developing plans to offer sommelier service skills programmes and mixology sessions as part of an expanded programme at the WSET school in London.’Those plans are starting to take shape and we will have news in 2020 to share with the industry,’ he said.

Cox said the agreement to jointly manage the AFWS comes at the ‘right time’ for the WSET to ‘work more closely with the wider sommelier and service community in the UK to develop relevant and sought-after service programmes to complement our established qualifications’.

He said the established qualifications will remain the same.

IoH chief executive Peter Ducker added: ‘This alliance strengthens the AFWS brand as each organisation plays to their strengths. The result will be to enable AFWS to become the go-to organisation for skills development and thought leadership, and through competitions they will recognise the best of the best and inspire others to excel.’

The AFWS will continue to organise the UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition and work in partnership with The Caterer on the UK Sommelier of the Year competition.

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