Sunderland gin creator raises a glass to a year of growth for South Hetton-based WL Distillery

A year after releasing its 1st Edition gin in the height of lockdown, a South Hetton-based distillery is raising a glass to 12 months of growth.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 3:37 pm
Scott Wilson-Laing Founder and Managing Director of WL Distillery in County Durham Picture: DAVID WOOD

WL Distillery launched its gin at the end of 2020 and has since racked up a number of industry awards, as well as listings in Vogue and GQ magazine.

Sunderland-born Scott Wilson-Laing, founder and managing director at WL Distillery, said: “As with many businesses the start of the pandemic made 2020 a challenging year, with a refocus in business strategy and the subsequent relaunch we’ve benefited from an upward trajectory.

“As we moved into 2021 we were delighted that our 1st Edition Gin was awarded a trio of leading industry awards in such a short period of time. Alongside, securing our first pop-up retail premises at the STACK Newcastle. 2021 has been a great growth journey for the company, albeit on a slightly different path than we had initially planned.

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WL Distillery 1st edition gin

"We’ve also recently managed to increase our presence in a number of bars across the region including the STACK Seaburn and STACK Newcastle and this is an area we are looking to refocus on as we enter 2022.”

The inspiration for WL Distillery comes from Scott spending his summers in his grandad’s garden surrounded by botanicals and the team are committed to combining their passion for gin whilst capturing the charm and nature of the region.

Crafted in the North East from start to finish the gins are expertly monitored and created, by hand in the distillery.

Hot on the heels of the announcement that the distillery had won Silver at the prestigious 2021 London Spirits Competition, the distillery was also awarded Gold at The Gin Masters, alongside Design Bronze at The World Gin Awards.

Scott added: “We are committed to ensuring a fresh and classic authentic gin experience for customers and the award recognition in 2021 demonstrated that the spirits we are making are the kind that bar managers and mixologists want to stock and spirits drinkers enjoy drinking.”

Although 2021 remained uncertain, the team behind the award-winning 1st Edition Gin continued to innovate and the range grew in 2021 to include the limited edition festive and Valentine ranges alongside Wilson’s Gin Club Watermelon and Liquorice, increasing the range to six flavours.

The festive packs were brought back by popular demand for the season and the 1st Edition Gin saw a festive makeover to support Grace House ‘s festive appeal.

Former Thornhill School pupil Scott added: “We gave our signature bottles a festive makeover, whilst supporting Grace House, a charity that we’ve worked closely with over the years.

"It really is a family affair at WL Distillery, and I brought my Nana on board to knit the festive hats for our gins, with donations from sales going to the Grace House festive appeal, it was great to see customers get into the festive spirit and support this appeal.

"As we hit 2022, there may still be uncertainty in the air, but we have some really exciting developments on the horizon, so I look forward to sharing these in the coming months.”

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