Every business and industry faces pressure to grow. Institutions and organizations are no exception, even robust ones like the ASI that enjoy a well-defined and self-replenishing base of members. This is a good thing. Growth is healthy, when approached responsibly.
So where has the ASI grown most?
Territory, for starters, in the form of new member organizations. 2019 saw one new active member nation and two new observer nations join the ASI family. In classic business terms, more member countries means a greater market share for the ASI of professional sommeliers working throughout the world. All sides benefit, as each new member extends our reach to countries and even continents where the profession is often chronically underrepresented.
Activities are another area. With broader and increased membership come more opportunities for contests and events of importance at a local, national, regional, continental and global level. Each one represents a chance for the ASI’s members to take part and showcase or expand their knowledge and talents.
Our PR work has grown as well. Not only are more events being organized, but the manner in which they are presented has also changed. While classic print media (newspapers, SommelierS International, etc) remain important partners in our marketing, the ASI has expanded its social media coverage exponentially. This even includes live streams of the ASI contests, allowing hundreds of thousands of professional sommeliers worldwide to access the ASI’s events and share in the glow of the competitors’ impressive achievements.
Last but not least, the ASI has grown its partner program to include more businesses and organizations in sommelier-adjacent fields. These relationships add value to the lives of working sommeliers: they not only help support our contests and events, they offer exposure to innovative products and services and keep working professionals up-to-date on the state of the art.
And more growth is yet to come. The ASI Diploma is being reworked to give members a more clear path to expanding their knowledge and qualifications. More countries are applying for membership. More potential partners have expressed interest. And perhaps most excitingly: 2020 will see the list of winners of several important Best Sommelier contests grow to include new faces.