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Posted 4th August 2020

WIRSPA and the WSET Provide Support for Caribbean Hospitality Professionals

Mixologists, bartenders and other hospitality professionals in the Caribbean, who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be given the opportunity to increase their industry knowledge and skills free of cost while they are unable to work.

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On July 13th, The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). WIRSPA, which represents distillers’ associations across the Caribbean and WSET, the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications announced their intent to offer at least 200 Level 1 Awards in Spirits courses online.

Caribbean beverage alcohol and other hospitality professionals over the age of 18 will be eligible for the course with individual distillers’ associations selecting the most deserving candidates in their market. The Level 1 Award in Spirits course, run online via WSET’s Online Classroom, will start on July 27th and will run for four weeks. At the end of the course students will take a remotely invigilated online exam, and those who are successful will receive a certificate and WSET lapel pin. WIRSPA’s membership of Caribbean-based distilleries will provide additional support during the course, running tasting sessions and webinars on their brands and products as a supplement to WSET course materials.

Deniece Bourne, WSET Business Development Manager – Americas East & The Caribbean, comments, “Tourism is a major industry across the Caribbean, and, in these challenging times, we are committed to offering our support to displaced hospitality professionals. We are delighted to partner with WIRSPA for this initiative which aims to empower participants through education and a qualification that will help them in their careers, both practically and professionally, once they are able to return to work.”

Komal Samaroo, WIRSPA Chairman said, “WSET is an internationally recognized provider of education, and this initiative is making available to our hospitality professionals, a world class qualification in spirits. This certification will provide them with important new skills and enhance their employment prospects.”

According to Vaughn Renwick, CEO of WIRSPA, “beverage service professionals – mixologists, bartenders, bar managers and other hospitality industry professionals – have been on the sharp edge of the lockdown, with many giving up all income as the industry was shut down and only now slowly opening. This is our way of supporting this important sector and providing individuals with additional skills, in anticipation of full re-employment.”

Caribbean-based organizations interested in contributing to this initiative may contact Deniece Bourne, Business Development Manager – Americas East & The Caribbean of WSET Americas at or Vaughn Renwick, CEO of WIRSPA at for more information.


Photo by Ainis Jankauskas from Pexels