UP to 100 new jobs could be created in one of the most deprived parts of Cornwall after a 100% sustainable scheme to geo-thermally mature and distil rum using heat generated by the UK’s first geothermal power plant won one of the biggest research and development grants awarded in the Government’s Green Distillery Competition.

The Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company’s (CGDC) Celsius project will receive £75,000 in the first phase of government funding aimed at cutting carbon emissions in the industry and supporting new, green jobs.

The company's outline planning application for a rum cask maturation facility and visitor centre await consideration by Cornwall Council planners for land a pipeline and cable’s distance from where GEL’s project team has drilled over 5km into ancient granite to tap the deep geothermal heat from which significant quantities of clean, renewable electricity and heat will be produced in 2022.

The initial phase would see ethically produced, Bonsucro accredited rum distilled around the world brought to the site, laid down in oak casks made and repaired by CGDC coopers (barrel makers) and stored in the maturation biome to enhance the product’s quality and flavour.

The biome would incorporate 4 patent-pending “maturation pods”, each holding 800 X 200L casks, amounting to 640,000L of rum in total which would be tropically matured over a period of five to ten years.

CGDC’s Celsius team hopes the rum cask maturation facility would be up and running by the late summer of 2022 - and that a demonstrable success of this “Catalyst Phase” could draw further interest and investment into the creation of a full £30million Cornish geothermal rum distillery with potential to create up to 100 jobs.

Jobs created would include highly skilled Master Coopers and Master Blenders as well as offering apprenticeships to local young people. CGDC is engaging with the communities close to United Downs and aims to work with the Cornwall Mining World Heritage Site team to preserve and enhance the historic area to pay tribute to those who worked above and below this land right back to medieval times.

Company founder Matt Clifford said: “As an ambitious, start-up distillery project, aiming to get everything sustainably right from the word go, we are overwhelmed and beyond grateful to be amongst the highest beneficiaries of the Government’s Green Distillery award: it’s an endorsement and an understanding at the very highest level of what we aim to do.

“We have poured our hearts and souls into this vision which combines our absolute passion for rum with root and branch sustainability, much-needed investment and quality full-time jobs utilising local skills and businesses in this part of Cornwall.”

CGDC is more than two years into the research and development of its £10million, 30 job Celsius scheme to geo-thermally distill and mature rum in an ultra high-tech, carbon neutral bi-ome using heat and energy from Geothermal Engineering Limited’s (GEL) pilot power plant at United Downs in Cornwall’s historic mining heartland.

The awards are part of the Government’s stated commitment to a clean, resilient recovery, working towards the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050 and comes in addition to ambitious green targets announced in the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper.