Published Date

September 2, 2020

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications, has reported that in the last academic year (2019/20) a total of 96,845 candidates took a WSET qualification. This represents an 11% decrease versus last year’s record-breaking figure of 108,557 candidates reported in the organisation’s 50th year – with this decline completely attributable to the impact of COVID-19. Over the same period, however, WSET saw strong growth in online candidate registrations, with numbers almost trebling compared to the previous year. Although candidate numbers fell for wine and sake qualifications at all levels, candidate numbers for WSET’s spirits courses bucked the trend with Levels 1 and 2 Award in Spirits growing +17% and +19% respectively versus the previous year.


In January 2020, halfway through the academic year, WSET was recording 15% growth in candidate numbers compared to the previous year and was on track to deliver 125,000 candidates by the end of the year.  However, in March 2020 candidate numbers came to a standstill as WSET course providers globally were unable to deliver classroom sessions and exams. In response, WSET successfully fast-tracked its digital strategy, and by June 2020 was able to offer end-to-end online products in English in all subject streams (wine, spirits and sake) at Levels 1 and 2 - including remotely invigilated online exams.  


WSET registered 14,000 candidates for online courses in 2019/20, representing 15% of annual candidate numbers, compared to 5,000 candidates (5% of annual candidate numbers) in the previous year. WSET’s digital growth reflects the increased global demand for online learning amongst trade and consumer audiences stimulated by global lockdown and working from home. 


WSET course availability continued to grow in 2019/20 with 106 new Approved Programme Providers (APPs) offering WSET courses for the first time, including two new markets – Guyana and Myanmar. WSET now has over 900 APPs offering WSET qualifications in more than 70 countries. WSET’s top three markets in 2019/20 by candidate numbers remained the USA, UK and Mainland China, with the USA becoming the number one market for the first time. Several countries in the Asia Pacific and EMEA regions saw encouraging growth despite the pandemic, in particular South Korea (+28%), Japan (+18%), and France (+15%).  


WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris says, “I am very happy with our performance given the circumstances, and I am incredibly proud of the WSET team who have gone the extra mile to see us through the serious challenges thrown at us by Covid-19. Our ability to roll out end-to-end digital products has not only been our saviour in the short-term, but also opens up new opportunities for us in the long-term. We now have the flexibility to offer a blended package of classroom and online courses to meet the varying needs of our course providers and students around the world.”

Harris adds, “Looking forward to the new academic year, our priority is to stabilise our business; supporting our course providers and students through the aftermath of the pandemic. We have learnt many lessons from the last five months and will be using these to continue to make our business more agile and efficient. Additionally, we will be refining our digital products and services and gradually developing our remotely invigilated exams and eBooks in other key languages. We will also continue preparations for the launch of our first beer qualifications.”


To learn more about WSET’s qualifications or to find a local Approved Programme Provider, visit</a>.</p>"

Published Date

CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta-based Two Pine Ventures, developer of destination distilleries and SNODAY™ spirits brands, today announced their launch of an equity crowdfunding campaign to complete the build of two destination distilleries – Firehall Distillers in Okotoks and Bragg Creek Distillers in Bragg Creek.

With travel restrictions keeping Albertans closer to home this year, a trend towards staycations has emerged. The development of destination distilleries provides an experiential draw for locals and visitors alike, while becoming the heart of these thriving rural communities. Founded for and funded by the community, the distilleries will contribute to the economic revitalization of these communities’ post COVID-19.

Two Pine Ventures products leverage Alberta’s raw ingredients - mineral-rich, glacier-fed water and the highest quality grain in the world - to distill premium spirits that will anchor the destination distilleries.

“When I built Hillside Estate Winery in the Okanagan, our guests needed a distinctive location to experience our products,” says John Hromyk, President of Two Pine Ventures. “While the pandemic has changed our lives, the growth in staycations and the proven model of craft distillery tourism provide new opportunities for innovation. The opportunity in front of us is to lead the development of destination distilleries and have them become a focus of revitalization for the rural communities we call home.”

Having purchased the land for the destination distilleries in Bragg Creek and Okotoks, Two Pine has secured the development permits, and completed the designs. Both projects are now shovel ready.

“Two Pine Ventures has raised $2.35 million to date and are looking to close another $4.25 million in equity financing,” said Dr. Brett Schönekess, Two Pine Ventures CFO and Master Distiller. “As we were planning to fund the build, we realized these projects needed to be funded directly from the communities that would see benefit from local visitation and future export of spirits.”

Through the FrontFundr crowdfunding campaign, shares in Two Pine Ventures and the destination distilleries start at $250. Two Pine Ventures hopes that the low barrier to entry will encourage locals to not only invest in the distillery projects but become long-term supporters of the brand and forthcoming spirits.   

Two Pine Ventures will produce its award-winning, hand-crafted, premium spirits under the SNODAY™ brand in-house.

To learn more about the equity crowdfunding campaign and for full details of the offering found in the Offering Memorandum, visit This communication is for informational purposes only.

Published Date

LAS VEGAS – Aug. 26, 2020Vegas Baby Vodka will cheers summer goodbye with its Stir Crazy cocktail this Labor Day weekend, from Friday Sept. 4 to Monday, Sept. 7.


The female-owned, local spirits brand will encourage vodka lovers to enjoy three days of fun in the sun with its latest concoction, the Stir Crazy cocktail, made with Vegas Baby Vodka, agave, lime juice, blackberries and club soda to finish. Inspired by a summer of quarantine, this cocktail was created to enjoy at home with the following recipe:


Stir Crazy cocktail:

3 oz. Vegas Baby Vodka

2 oz. Club Soda

1.5 oz. Agave or Simple Syrup

4 Blueberries

Juice of one lime


Directions: Muddle blackberries in a cocktail glass and add ice. Combine and shake Vegas Baby Vodka, lime juice and agave in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a blackberry.


Vegas Baby Vodka is made with non-GMO, gluten-free corn and is distilled using a column still, later filtered through a charcoal filter for an ultra-smooth finish. An interactive map of retailers and more information can be found at, as well as on Instagram at @VegasBabyVodka. Vegas Baby Vodka was recently certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) business, two prestigious classifications supporting female business owners and small businesses. 

Published Date

Kingsey Falls, Québec, August 26, 2020 – Cascades PRO, the professional hygiene brand of Cascades Inc. (TSX: CAS), has launched a new hand hygiene campaign to promote the importance of hand drying in preventing the spread of bacteria, viruses and other infections.

The mission of the campaign, titled “Hand Hygiene is a Two-Part Process,” is to inform the public about the importance of hand drying as a critical part of the fight against infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Research has shown that bacteria are more easily transmitted from wet hands than dry hands, and that using paper towels to dry your hands not only removes the moisture from hands more quickly and efficiently, but the friction caused by the towels allows for even further removal of microorganisms.

In a recent Consumer Intelligence poll conducted by Cascades in the U.S, results confirmed that Americans are not placing the same importance on hand drying as they are on hand washing. While 84% percent of Americans say it is extremely important to wash your hands after using a public restroom, only 48% of Americans say it is extremely important to dry your hands after using a public restroom.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, we saw a significant rise in discussions about hand washing and its important role in helping to curb the spread of the virus, but little to no coverage of hand drying – the equally important second part of hand hygiene,” said Francois David, Vice President Marketing & Innovation, Cascades Tissue Group. “With our ‘Hand Hygiene is a Two-Part Process’ campaign, we aim to add to the current dialogue about proper hand hygiene to ensure that people across North America understand that drying your hands is just as important as washing them.”

The campaign, rolling out this month in the U.S. and Canada, is fully integrated and being supported by advertising, public relations, and web and social programs, as well as a toolkit for building owners and facility managers to use to promote the importance of hand drying in reducing the spread of illness.

Beyond shedding light on the scientific aspect of hand drying in the form of a white paper, the “Hand Hygiene is a Two-Part Process” toolkit will also provide useful tips for improving the hygiene of bathrooms in retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing plants and similar facilities to better align with these new consumer demands for public restrooms. Cascades PRO will also be including information about proper hand hygiene in the promotion of its Tandem Electronic No-Touch Hand Towel Dispenser, set to be released this fall.

As organizations and businesses continue to evaluate their re-opening plans, important care will need to be taken in terms of public restrooms and how best to keep people safe. Cascades PRO’s consumer survey also explored the features Americans would like to see more of in public restrooms, with the results being (1) paper towels from a touchless dispenser (74%) , (2) touchless ways to enter and exit the bathroom (64%) and (3) automatic toilet flushers and touchless trash cans (59%).

For more information about Cascades PRO’s “Hand Hygiene is a Two-Part Process”campaign and to download the toolkit, please visit

Published Date

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS (August 25, 2020) – Texas-based Treaty Oak Distilling has announced the launch of its newest bourbon, The Day Drinker Texas Bourbon.


Much like Treaty Oak’s award-winning flagship offering, Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon, The Day Drinker Texas Bourbon is a 100% Texas-made grain-to-glass bourbon that’s born from Texas wheat and yellow no.1 corn from Barton Springs Mill, proofed using limestone-filtered water, and aged for one year under the hot Texas sun. At just 80-proof (compared to Ghost Hill’s 95-proof), The Day Drinker is the ideal Treaty Oak expression for casual sipping, end-of-summer imbibing and, of course, day drinking.


The Day Drinker is a Certified Texas Whiskey, and the Texas elements – from the unique aging climate to the locally-sourced grains and corn – shine through in the release to create a special and sippable bourbon. Tasting notes include sweet kettle corn, buttery vanilla, fresh wheat, soft allspice and a cinnamon finish.


Treaty Oak fans will be able to get their hands on a bottle early if they can make it to Treaty Oak’s Distillery in Dripping Springs, Texas starting on September 1, but otherwise, this release will be available online ( for shipping around the country, as well as at select retailers in TX, FL and CA, beginning on September 15. It will also be rolled out in additional markets nationwide following the September 15 launch. The Day Drinker will be available in 375ml bottles (MSRP $13.99) and 750ml bottles (MSRP $25.99).


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