WL DISTILLERY founder selected as a batonbearer for the North East

The Queen’s Baton Relay returns to England this summer when the Queen’s Baton will be carried across the country by inspirational batonbearers, and Scott Wilson-Laing Founder and Owner of award-winning County Durham based WL Distillery has been selected to be one of the 2,022 batonbearers for England.

Nominations were submitted during a public nomination campaign in January 2022 and the nominees, each with incredible stories, had to hit a certain criteria. Scott Wilson-Laing was nominated for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic when WL Distillery halted the production of gin and was one of the first independent distilleries to switch production to sanitiser, this in turn saw the founder support organisations across the North East including foodbanks, Grace House, Sunderland Samaritans, schools and NHS staff at a time when the sanitiser was in short supply.

Scott Wilson-Laing, Founder and Owner of WL Distillery said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been nominated and chosen for such a prestigious event, I really was shocked when I received the news. To be a batonbearer representing my home region is just phenomenal, it really is going to be a memory to cherish for years to come.”

The Queen’s Baton will reach the North East on Thursday 14 July – Friday 15 July as part of an epic journey across the Commonwealth. Scott will take the baton for a stretch of the North East route in South Shields on 15th July at around 8.40am.

The news comes as a sample of hand sanitiser produced by WL Distillery has been acquired by the Science Museum Group as part of its COVID-19 Collecting Project. The hand sanitiser will join other historic items in the collection in London to provide insights into the medical and scientific advancements of the last two years.

WL Distillery’s hand sanitiser had been selected by the world-famous alliance of science museums to join their Collecting Project and help tell the story of the outbreak for future generations to come.

In order to tell the story of how WL Distillery pivoted to manufacturing hand sanitiser, the Science Museum Group has also acquired the equipment that WL Distillery used to make the sanitiser, along with a recorded interview with Scott Wilson-Laing, which will provide the Science Museum with an oral history to enhance the future interpretation of these objects.

Scott Wilson-Laing, Founder and Managing Director at WL Distillery added: “It’s such a great feeling that a national institution as esteemed as the Science Museum Group would want to archive the equipment and sanitiser products from WL Distillery. I’m glad we were able to support a number of local charities and individuals who were in need of sanitiser at the height of the lockdown and that we made the decision to temporarily halt product.

With my history background I know how important it is to keep artifacts for the future, and as I reflect on the experience of visiting the Science Museum recently to record the interview, it’s really humbling to think that years down the line when Covid is being discussed and studied that future generations will be interacting with something that I had a hand in producing.”

The items from WL Distillery join other objects from across the UK that form the Science Museum Group’s COVID-19 Collecting Project, including historic empty vials of the vaccines from the first worldwide mass vaccinations, signage from the Government’s daily briefings, COVID-19 testing kits, and a range of national and international artworks.

The project provides a permanent record for future generations of medical, scientific, industrial, cultural and personal responses to the outbreak and chronicling its impact on society.

The distillery was able to restart gin production in November 2020 and since then has gone from strength to strength with a trio of industry awards now under their wing, including Silver at the prestigious 2021 London Spirits Competition, followed by Gold at The Gin Masters and Design Bronze at The World Gin Awards in 2021.