Micro-distillery boss aims to capture flavour of North East after inspiring stint as volunteer archaeologist

An entrepreneur is proving he has the bottle to go it alone with the launch of a new micro-distillery.
Scott Wilson-Laing, left, with Ron Anderson from BIC Sunderland.Scott Wilson-Laing, left, with Ron Anderson from BIC Sunderland.
Scott Wilson-Laing, left, with Ron Anderson from BIC Sunderland.

Scott Wilson-Laing was inspired to launch WL Distillery after developing a passion for sampling rare, local delicacies whilst volunteering as an archaeologist overseas.

Having spent three years studying and traveling in Italy, Cyprus, Turkey and Germany, Scott returned to the North East and decided to set up his own business – aiming to fusing his love for the North East with his long-held passion for producing and sampling niche local drinks.

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Scott has been supported throughout his start-up journey by the North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) in Sunderland, working with business expert Ron Anderson and attending a series of workshops and masterclasses on everything from financial planning to Instagram marketing.

Scott said: “Wherever you go, there always seems to be a regional drink or spirit that represents that area and it’s nice to be able to experience the local delicacies.

“When I was in Malta, they made their own spirits from cactus plants and in Cyprus, I lived in a village where the local priest grew his own olives and made his own spirits.

“I want to create something that bottles up a real flavour of the North East.”Initially producing a signature gin WL’s products will take inspiration from the regional landscape, using fresh, premium ingredients such as blackberries, pears and apples to produce handmade, small-batch gin.

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He added: “Ron was my business advisor and has been great. He has set up a fair few businesses in his time so it’s nice to have someone experienced to bounce ideas off.

A website for WL Distillery, which is based in County Durham, is set to launch soon with customers able to pre-order limited edition, individually numbered hand-signed bottles of its first signature gin.

Mr Anderson said: “It’s been a real pleasure working with Scott and supporting him on his journey so far. The passion he has for not only the region’s culture, but also for distilling, is clear for anyone to see and we wish him all the best for the future.”