The Three Drinkers' Aidy Smith has launched Drinklusive, an inclusive mentorship program for aspiring drinks writers and content creators.
The programme aims to fast-track the credentials, knowledge and profiles of aspiring creatives from diverse communities with the support of industry leaders such as Global Brands, Jancis Robinson and WSET.
Six mentees will join the six-month programme in January, drawn from LGBTQIA+, ethnic minority and disability communities with socio-economic factors considered.
Applicants can apply via this form from today (December 11th).
Smith, MD of Amazon Prime show The Three Drinkers, said: “Since I joined this industry a decade ago, it’s been my mission to welcome more diverse faces into it. Being the only TV presenter in the UK with Tourette’s Syndrome and one of the few openly LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent personalities in the drinks world has allowed me to see how much work needs to be done and I’m now in a position to influence that change”.
“I’m so humbled by the support of likeminded people in the industry who want to be a part of this movement and I hope it inspires others to support where they can too."
Each mentee will receive WSET Level 2 and 3 training for wine or spirits.
Michelle Brampton, WSET CEO said: “We’re passionate about increasing diversity and inclusivity in the drinks industry. It’s at the heart of our purpose which is to empower people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world.
“We’re delighted to be the education partner for this unique initiative which will undoubtedly change these six aspiring drinks writers’ lives and give them valuable experience and insight to support their ambitions.”
Mentees will be paid to create content for The Three Drinkers content hub and receive a guaranteed commission for global news outlet, The Independent, alongside work on Jancis Robinson’s own Jancisrobinson.com.
They will also be invited to work at London Wine Fair in a paid capacity to "harness a deep and personal understanding of wine and spirit’s culture".
Annabel Grossman, executive editor (ecommerce) for The Independent added: “The Independent is constantly striving to improve diversity among our journalists to ensure our articles reflect the fullest possible range of perspectives and experiences. We are thrilled to be partnering with the inclusivity incubator and excited to work with these new voices in the drinks space.”
Speaking to the potential of the program and wider industry representation, Jancis Robinson added: “It is just so obvious that the world of wine will benefit if we take steps to widen the pool of people who populate it. It will undoubtedly be enriched. And now that for the first time in my career wine drinking is decreasing, we should be welcoming everyone in. It’s crazy how narrow the mainstream world of wine has been up to now.”
Each mentee will also gain access to social media training to boost their online profiles and gain insight into the drinks industry through monthly seminars with industry figures such as Ian McLernon (Remy Cointreau CEO – EMEA, APAC, GTR) and Anne Jones (Waitrose Wine & Spirits Category Buyer).
Finally, they will benefit from 1-1 sessions with mentors each of whom is a "key personality within the drinks content creation and/or consumer journalism space".