Get into the Christmas ‘spirit’!

A lot has happened to the Alma Boys since I interviewed them in a garage in March 2022. They have a new factory, a new recipe and new distributors. They also introduced me to WILLIE, their new 200-litre still!

From a small start-up that was dreamt up during the COVID pandemic, Carl Wilson and Jodi Weijdom are now producing 1000 bottles per month, courtesy of WILLIE, which was custom-made in Serbia. Named after Carl’s father, who was the driving force in persuading the boys to follow their dreams and even lent them his garage as their first premises, it has allowed them to up production tenfold.

“The reaction to the gin has been beyond our wildest dreams,” enthuses Carl. “Not just from the bars and restaurants that are stocking it, but also from the visitors to the Algarve, particularly Americans and Canadians, who all want to buy a local product and take it home with them. Now we are in the centre of Lagos, people are even dropping into the factory. This month, we had a couple from Alma in Nova Scotia who wanted to take a bottle home with them!”

This year has not been without its stresses, though. Having to change their licence from their old factory to their new premises in the back streets of Lagos was a challenge, but now they are settled in the new space. They have completely renovated the old workshop, which not only provides a factory but also an adjoining space that will give them the opportunity to become customer-facing in the future, with a shop and tasting experience. The expansion means the pair have also been able to give up their bar work to focus on the gin trade.

I am, of course, on the hunt to find suitable local gifts for Tomorrow readers and so I am keen to discuss their Gin Natal, which is based on the flavours of Christmas spice, including cranberries, orange, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. As well as their normal suppliers, the Alma Boys will also be selling their wares at Christmas markets: already confirmed are the Vale do Lobo Christmas fair on 2 December and the Collab market on 9 and 10 December.

Buying a bottle of this artisan gin for Christmas will also mean giving to charity. Last year, Alma Spirits raised 1000€ for the CASLAS Lagos Orphanage from the proceeds of the limited edition Gin Natal. This year, they hope to be able to raise even more for the children’s home as they are now able to produce more bottles.

Staying true to their sustainable ethos, the by-products from flavouring their gin are passed onto HandMadeNatural for making candles. These candles will also be sold at Christmas markets and, in the future, on their website.

Once the festive season is over, the industrious pair will be turning their sights to a new gin flavour. Following their ethos of supporting local businesses, they are working with Montialto farm in Bensafrim, owned by three generations of the same family. When the grandson approached them, they were keen to work with him to experiment with Portugal´s first mulberry-flavoured gin.

They first tried infusing the mulberries, but the gin didn’t retain the flavour. They then decided to dilute the gin with mulberry juice, so it is naturally flavoured. An ideal thirst-quencher for sunny days, the mulberry gin will be launched for the summer market.

The increase in production has been tiring –  Carl and Jodi often have to arrive at the factory at 5 am to start up WILLIE – but they now hope they are on top of the manufacturing side. In 2024, they will be turning their attention to more marketing and an events branch of the business. The men are determined their gin will become a national product and are proud that it represents Praia da Luz and the western Algarve. Jodi was born and brought up in Portugal and Carl has been coming here his whole life before moving here permanently in 2008, so they definitely view themselves as locals. They both have young families and are trying to create a family concern for the future.

So, if you want to get into the Christmas ‘spirit’ then be sure to stock up on Gin Natal this Christmas or put it in someone else’s stocking. You will not only be supporting a local business but also finding the true taste of the Algarve.

Alma Gin can be bought at Baptistia, Spar and Sunny Bubbles in Praia da Luz and Intermarché in Lagos.You can read the original article about how the gin brand was born at


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