Diageo’s Katherine Smart Makes History as First Female Master Brewer

Katherine Smart has been elected as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers for 2024 to 2025, becoming the first female master in 461 years.

The Worshipful Company of Brewers, also known as the Brewers’ Company, is one of the City of London’s livery companies and has records going back to 1563 when the practice of electing a master annually began.

“I’m thrilled to have been elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers – an organisation playing a crucial role connecting brewers across the industry, and supporting valuable educational and research work,” Smart said.

“Brewing has historically been very male dominated, and when I started my career, I’d often be the only woman in the room at industry events. Today it is wonderful to see so many women entering the industry, building thriving careers and shaping the future of brewing.”

To mark the event, Diageo brewed a special Guinness which was served to guests. Arthur’s Last Ale was brewed to a recipe based on a brewing ledger from 1796 – one of the last batches of ale produced at St. James’s Gate in Dublin before the brewery focused on stout for the next 200 years.

Guiness has a relationship with the Worshipful Company of Brewers which dates back to the 1970s. Edward Guinness was the first member of the Guinness brewery to receive the honour in 1977, followed by Peter Lipscomb in 1990 and Stephen Wingfield Digby in 1997.

Smart meanwhile leads Diageo’s global technical team with responsibility for innovation, research & liquid development and packaging & governance. She is based at the Diageo Technical Centre in Menstrie, Scotland, and works closely with Diageo’s St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin where Guinness is made (The centuries-old stout is now officially the best-selling draught beer in the UK).

The Worshipful Company of Brewers is one of London’s ancient livery companies and was once responsible for governing the beer trade in London. Today, the company remains closely connected to the brewing industry through its members.

Smart now paves the way for the next generation of female brewers around the world, having joined Diageo in 2019 from her role as a lecturer in Brewing and Distilling Sciences at Cambridge University. She was previously Global Chief Brewer & Vice President for supply chain integration at ABInBev, and also global chief brewer at SAB Miller.

Spirits set to overtake wine as global drinking habits change

According to a report from the World Spirits Alliance released on Wednesday, global sales of spirits such as vodka and whisky are expected to surpass wine as drinking preferences have shifted.

The report from Oxford Economics and alcohol market research firm IWSR states 2.67 billion cases of spirits were sold in 2022, almost as many as the 2.8 billion cases of wine sold that year.

“Should current trends in both categories continue, spirits volumes will soon surpass those of wine,” the report states.

Trends, including a shift towards drinking fewer, more expensive drinks, notably a growing range of cocktails, have seen spirits displace wine.

The wine industry has faced a global supply glut, difficult weather and falling demand, which has hit a 27-year low. Beer companies are also grappling with a shift to spirits in some markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

Beer accounted for 75.2% of total beverage alcohol volumes in 2022, followed by wine at 10.4% and spirits at 9.9%;

In terms of the value of sales in 2022, spirits accounted for 40% of total beverage alcohol sales followed by beer at 38.1% and wine at 17.6%;

Indian whisky is set to be the fastest growing spirits category between 2022 and 2027, growing by 50 million cases, with tequila, rum and gin all expected to rise between 10 and 20 million cases. Cognac and Armagnac are set to grow the least in the spirits market.

The production and sale of spirits contributed some $730 billion to the global economy in 2022, when activity ranging from farming and manufacturing to shipping and sales in shops, bars and restaurants is included.

Source: Reuters

The 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified

Insider Monkey’s list of the 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified in a new list that outlines which tipples we favour most.

The analysts at the investment advisors Insider Monkey drew from their deeper dive report of the ‘20 Most Consumed Alcohols in the World’. Here is a list of the top 10, for your review.

1. Beer
Global market size in 2022: US$793.74 billion

Beer is the most consumed alcohol in the world. In fact, after water and tea, beer is the most popular drink in the world. According to reports, in the 2022 brewing year, global beer production ended up increasing slightly year-on-year by 1.3% to 1.89 billion hectolitres. However, the market is yet to return to its pre-pandemic levels when production peaked at 1.91 billion hectolitres in 2019. The category has also evolved with consumer tastes as brewers look to satisfy the thirst of their audience. Plus, the overall demand for premium and low-calorie beers, the rising popularity of craft beer, and the continued expansion of distribution networks in emerging countries are all expected to continue driving growth in the global beer sector over the next few years.

2. Wine
Global market size in 2022: US$441.6 billion

The rising demand for premium and luxury wines has been reported alongside the growing popularity of wine tourism which have become key factors driving growth. According to the analysts, global wine consumption in 2022 was estimated to be at 232 million hectolitres, marking a decrease of 1% compared to the previous year. Year-on-year, wine consumption around the world has decreased at a regular rate and yet this can be mainly attributed to the decline in China’s consumption, which has lost an average 2 million hectolitres per year since 2018.

3. Liqueurs
Global market size in 2022: US$128.9 billion

Liqueurs, which are essentially distilled spirits that are sweetened with sugar or syrup, and often also contain fruit, herbs, and oils, can be sweet or bitter depending on the flavours used.

4. Baijiu
Global market size in 2022: US$95.21 billion

Baiju plays a prominent role in China’s drinking culture and has done so ever since the Ming Dynasty. It is most distilled from sorghum, although other grains – including rice, wheat, corn, and millet – are also available in blends throughout the country. Last year, consumers in China consumed US$91 billion worth of baijiu, yet it remains less well-known outside the nation.

5. Whisky
Global market size in 2022: US$64 billion

As millennials are increasingly beginning to experiment with different drinks and assisting in the rise of ‘cocktail culture’, the use of whisky as a premium ingredient has increased in bars. 2022 was hinted to be a great year for Scotch whisky and exports of Scotland’s native spirit hit US$7.5 billion last year, the highest figures ever. Whisky exports by volume also rose, with the number of 700ml bottles shipped overseas up by 21%, to 1.67 billion.

6. Vodka
Global market size in 2022: US$25.98 billion

Vodka continues to be the most consumed spirit in the US and has been since 1970. Around 78.1 million cases of the spirit were sold in America in 2021 and by 2022, 28.1 million 9L cases were sold globally.

7. Cider
Global market size in 2022: US$17.9 billion

Cider has risen in popularity significantly over the last decade and can also flex with the seasons. In the UK, Insider Monkey outlines how cider continues to be a popular alcoholic drinks category with an off-trade value sales growth in the UK of 5.2% over the past year. Some 47.8% of all British households now regularly buy cider – up from 45.5% last year.

8. Rum
Global market size in 2022: US$17.4 billion

While rum sales are still dominated by major producers, many consumer preferences are said to be moving away from value options and towards an appreciation for craft and aged rums instead. Made from fermented sugar cane juice, rum also provides a key function in cocktail culture.

9. Gin
Global market size in 2022: US$15.3 billion

There are, reportedly, three main reasons for gin’s continued popularity – taste, versatility, and the variety now available. The UK is the largest exporter of gin in the world and, according to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data, gin exports from Britain hit US$879 million last year, up from US$651 million in 2021.

10. Tequila
Global market size in 2022: US$14.7 billion

Tequila’s popularity has been on the rise for years, and in 2021 it surpassed whisky in retail sales. The analysts found that the growth in popularity of Tequila can primarily be attributed to several factors, including the expansion of the premium spirits sector as well as the introduction of new flavours, and a greater social media presence.

WSET to launch two new beer qualifications in 2024

Wine & Spirit Education Trust “WSET”, is set to launch two new beer qualifications February 2024: Level 1 Award in Beer and Level 2 Award in Beer.

The new beer qualifications have been created and set up by WSET’s Product Development team which is led by Sara Hobday, head of Product Development for Beer Qualifications. The team includes Mirella Amato, one of only 22 Master Cicerones, and Stuart Howe, Technical Development Manager for the Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Beer will be WSET’s fourth qualification area following wine, spirits and sake, and the first new subject stream since 2014 when sake was introduced.

These two new courses will provide both trade professionals and beer enthusiasts the product knowledge and tasting skills to become more beer-confident. Initially launching online and in-person in select markets, including the UK, United States, Canada and Australia, the courses will explore the main types and styles of beer, key methods of production, tasting techniques and food pairings.

Michelle Brampton, WSET CEO, said: “Extending our qualifications to encompass beer is an exciting time for WSET and a natural fit for us as leaders in global drinks education. Bringing over 50 years of educational experience to the beer category, our new Level 1 and 2 Awards in Beer will bring a unique and interactive approach to tasting and learning. We hope people will be inspired to pursue their passion for beer, whether for career or personal development using our courses to build their knowledge.”

Wine remains the strongest performing qualification for the WSET with candidates making up 88% of its student base in the last academic year.

Overall, in the academic year 2022-23, 143,000 candidates enrolled for a qualification, up 22% from the previous year, with courses offered by over 700 course providers in 78 countries.

The largest markets for WSET are:

USA – 27,000 candidates, up 17% vs the previous year

UK – 24,000 candidates, up 19% vs the previous year

China – 13,000 candidates

 

Town of Cardston, Alberta lifts prohibition law after 121 years

Cardston in Alberta, one of Canada’s few remaining dry towns, has recently voted to remove laws forbidding the sale of alcohol.

It was announced that last week the town council voted in favour of allowing “limited liquor sales.” The historic decision resulted in voting 5-2 in favour of a bylaw allowing restaurants and recreation facilities to apply for a liquor license.

The Mormon-founded town has maintained its Prohibition laws long after the rest of the province axed them in 1923, with previous attempts to have the ban lifted, in 1957 and 2014.

“Do I have fears? I do. But I trust the people,” said Cardston mayor Maggie Kronen. “Changes can be good, changes can be bad — we shall see.”

According to the 2021 census, 62% of Cardston’s residents are Mormons, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids the consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

It will still be some months before the first alcoholic drink is served at a Cardston restaurant as applications for liquor licenses will take some time to process.