Skip to main content
11 Mar 2024

WSET on the creation of a new beer qualification and supporting diversity in drinks

WSET on the creation of a new beer qualification and supporting diversity in drinks

The Pub Show talks to event partner Natalya Watson, Business Development Manager - Beer and Beer Educator, at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), about the organisation's new beer qualifications and what it'll be discussing with hospitality operators at this year's event. 

For anyone unfamiliar with WSET, tell us a bit about what the organisation does and who WSET's qualifications are aimed at.

WSET is the world’s leading provider of drinks education. Founded in 1969 to serve the growing educational needs of the UK wine and spirits industry, WSET now offers qualifications in wine, spirits, sake and beer through our global network of over 800 approved course providers.

Our courses are designed to inspire and empower anyone looking to develop their drinks knowledge - from beginners to experts, and from enthusiasts to professionals. They include people from the drinks trade, as well as those interested in learning for pleasure, or to deepen their knowledge.

Why has WSET decided to offer qualifications in beer?

Beer has evolved greatly over the past decade and with a growing range of flavourful beers on offers in bars and pubs, we noticed that both staff and customers were looking to learn more about it. So we decided it was time to develop the Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in Beer - our expansion into a new drinks category for the first time in 10 years.

With a focus on teaching through tasting, WSET’s new beer courses provide both trade professionals and beer enthusiasts with the product knowledge and tasting skills to become more beer confident.

How has the beer industry changed over the past five years?

Five years ago, many craft brewers were focused on producing the intensely flavoured, and often high strength, styles that their customers were craving, like juicy IPAs, smoothie sours, and pastry stouts. With the impact of the pandemic and the energy and cost of living crises that followed, however, these days more drinkers are opting for stripped back, simplified, and sessionable styles, like pale lagers and pale ales. There’s also been a trend of craft brewers moving into cask production, breathing new life into similarly sessionable beer styles like dark mild and best bitter. And we can’t ignore the growth of no- and low-alcohol brews, too.

Culturally, it seems fewer drinkers are heading to a bar specifically to seek out a new beer; instead, they’re heading out to see their friends and the beer they’re opting for is part of the experience, not necessarily the reason for the experience, as it was in the past. No matter what’s in their glass though, as long as customers continue to support their local, the industry will continue to recover.

Are there any beer trends you think we’ll see in 2024?

Our team of beer experts recently tackled this question, with predictions including an increased use of genetically modified yeast in brewing, a bigger focus on sustainability in the industry, and unique regional beer styles gaining global attention.

My personal predictions were around trending styles – I believe sour beers (like Gose and Flanders Red) have the power to convert new drinkers to the category, that the no- and low-alcohol beer segment will only continue to grow, and that hazy IPA is here to stay.  To read our predictions in full, head to our blog on

What’s coming up in 2024 for WSET?

This year we’ve launched our new Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in Beer and a Level 2 Award in Sake. From here, we’ll be focusing on getting the word out about these new courses and qualifications and working with our global network of course providers to see them offered in more places around the world.

WSET will continue to support greater diversity within the drinks industry. We recently became the new education partner of the Women in Beer Mentorship Programme. It enables women taking part in the programme to build connections and find support networks to help accelerate their career development. We’re really excited about this partnership and how it will help promote more opportunities for women in the UK’s beer industry.

What will you be discussing with visitors to The Pub Show?

We’ll be discussing how to raise the profile of your pub and elevate your customer experience – all by building your team’s beer knowledge and confidence. You’ll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at WSET’s new Level 1 and 2 Awards in Beer courses and discover why they’re a game-changer for those in the trade and enthusiasts alike.

Don't miss Natalya's session, 'Raise the bar: Empower your team with a fresh approach to beer education' taking place on The Pub Stage in The Pub Show at 10:30am on Tuesday 26 March. 

View all News

Official Show Partner




Media Partners


Design Partners


Charity Partners