The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and Institute of Hospitality (IOH) have teamed up to jointly manage the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS).
Launched in 1988, the AFWS is the professional body for front-of-house food and beverage service in the UK hospitality industry. It has been managed by the Institute of Hospitality since 2017.
The new partnership sees the WSET, which has 50 years of experience in supporting the wider hospitality industry, manage the beverage and sommelier-related activities of the academy.
One of these is the UK Sommelier of the Year competition, which is run by The Caterer in partnership with AFWS. The competition’s head judge Nicolas Clerc is president of AFWS.
Meanwhile the IOH will focus on its core strengths and continue to manage all activities related to restaurant management and food service.
Graham Cox, UK business development director of WSET, described the new partnership with the academy as a good strategic fit for the organisation.
“We will be able to add enormous value to the sommelier community here in the UK and globally via the academy’s membership of the Association Sommellerie Internationale (ASI),” he said. “I am confident that reinvigorating the AFWS together with closer collaboration between the WSET and the IOH will benefit the wider UK hospitality industry going forward.”
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 IOH and WSET are leaders in their fields so this new alliance is exciting and ground-breaking.”
The academy organises the UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition, which is led by John Cousins.