A brand new state-of-the-art production facility that also doubles as a visitor centre has been hailed a ‘winner’ by Alison Webster, Director of Rural Development for the Rural Payments Agency who officially opened the complex.
Explaining to an audience of about 100 guests that she had chaired the group which made the decision to allocate £1.3m from the European Agricultural Fund towards the building cost – about one third of the total bill of £3.4m – Mrs Webster said she liked ‘to invest in winners’.
“There were three elements to this bid that impressed us,” she said. “The first is that it will contribute to the development of Cornwall’s food brand, second, it will help build tourism and third it is already creating good quality jobs in an area that needs them.”
In a bold move, Joe and Sam Healey, who hosted the event and have been the main drivers behind the new facility that has taken just eight months to construct, chose to commence production on the same day as the official opening.
“Life has been very busy but we couldn’t be happier with the end result and are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped bring the project in on time and to such a high specification – there’s nothing like it in the UK,” said Joe. “This time last year we hadn’t even appointed architects and plans weren’t submitted for approval until May. That came through in mid June and the builders’ trucks rolled in the very next day.
“We wanted today to be special so it seemed only right to give Alison Webster the task of pressing the button to start the bottling process, as well as cutting the ribbon to access the stairs that spiral round our new two-storey cyder vat. Thankfully everything went well and guests seemed genuinely fascinated and impressed by all they could see from our aerial walkway. Now we’re really looking forward to welcoming members of the public who would like to see the facility too.”
As well as being given a tour of the building, launch visitors were treated to canapés and a buffet lunch that included jams, chutneys, scones and other produce made on site, all washed down with a refreshing glass of Healeys’ Cornish Gold, Rattler or apple juice.