A SAMPLE of hand sanitiser produced by a County Durham distillery, which switched production from gin at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, will feature in a museum collection.

WL Distillery's hand sanitiser will join other historic items in the Science Museum Group's Covid-19 Collecting Project to provide insights into the medical and scientific advancements of the last two years.

The award-winning firm of South Hetton was one of the first independent distilleries to switch production. It saw their sanitiser distributed to organisations across the region including foodbanks, Grace House, Sunderland Samaritans, schools and NHS staff.

The Northern Echo: Scott Wilsin-Laing of WL DistilleryScott Wilsin-Laing of WL Distillery

Read more: WL Distillery toasts year of success after Covid battles

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,

It will feature, along with a recorded interview with WL Distillery’s founder and managing director, Scott Wilson-Laing.

Mr Wilson-Laing said: “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.

The Northern Echo: The Science Museum Group The Science Museum Group

"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.

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"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 Northern Echo: Hand sanitiser produced by WL DistilleryHand sanitiser produced by WL Distillery

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading alliance of science museums, welcoming millions of visitors each year to its five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon.

The group’s collection of 7.3 million items spans science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the equipment used by John Logie Baird to transmit the first ever television pictures.

The Science Museum Group’s COVID-19 Collecting Project will include 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.

Rupert Cole, Curator of Contemporary Science at the Science Museum, said: “We’re delighted to have acquired WL Distillery’s hand sanitiser as it illustrates the incredible innovative thinking that took place across industries to help the public during an unprecedented time."

The distillery was able to restart gin production in 2021 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, alongside listings in Vogue and GQ magazine.

For more information visit: www.wldistillery.com.

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