100 years’ Genuine Vorarlberg Cheese Culture
I’m Alma’s alpine creamer woman. I have been around as the oldest brand symbol of Austrian dairy farming since the very start – which by now dates back more than 100 years. Every day, the experts process the raw material milk into natural and spread cheese specialties with passion, expertise and skill. A lot has changed in the past 100 years, many traditions have been preserved. I’m happy to take you along on a journey through the past 100 years.
Be well. See you!
This is where the story begins
The founding: The poet Franz Michael Felder and Alma
The story of Alma is the history of the Bregenzerwald farmers and dairy farmers. The first chapter – or the preface – is written in 1860 by the farmer, poet and free spirit Franz Michael Felder. A handful of determined farmers founded the “Landwirtschaftlicher Käseverein Bezau” (Agricultural Cheese Association of Bezau) on his initiative. Together they wanted to defeat the monopoly of the so-called “Cheese Lord.” The idea of the cooperative village dairy farms was born.
It was to last until 1921 when the company Alma emerged from the farmers’ cooperative. On October 1, 1921, the company was founded and the business activity initially started as a one-man operation.
Why Alma? Alma is Latin and translates into “nutritious.” Therefore, the best cow in the stable used to be called Alma in the olden days. Alma exists today as a result of the firm conviction of doing the best by founding the cooperative.
First processed cheese factory in Austria
After the monarchy collapsed, the Austrian economy hit rock bottom – the cheese cellars were full. The idea of building a processed cheese factory was born out of necessity. Alma was the first Austrian business to produce cheese spread, making it Austria’s oldest cheese spread brand. To this day, the master creamers use only the very best of cheese, their top-secretrecipes and of course, their treasure trove of experience. The alpine creamer woman in her original Bregenzerwald costume becomes the brandmark of Ama from the very start.
Expansion of Alma in the European market
The hoped for breakthrough came. The new sales channels and markets let Alma experience a solid upward development. The generous arrangement of the trade show stand with tasting samples received promotional attention for the first time and the people at Alma used to say at the time already: “There is nothing better than great taste.”
Opening of a new factory in Hard
The opening of a new factory in Hard gradually introduced automation to the cheese dairy. The factory was equipped with state-of-the-art creamery and packaging machinery. Alma receives repeated mention as a role-model business by virtue of its productivity in a hygienic and modern setting. In the following 30 years, the factory is expanded several times.
Alma becomes market leader
Alma developed into the leading seller of natural cheese and cheese spread specialties. More and more cheese wheels from Alma can be found in the cheese counters and more Alma cheese spread specialties are conquering the refrigerated shelves.
Launch of cut cheese
Besides the production of hard cheese, a quite special cut cheese has also been manufactured in Vorarlberg from the beginning. The Alma Montafoner, for example, is one of a kind by virtue of its slightly spicy and nut-flavored aroma.
Alma becomes part of Rupp AG
To secure key investments and take advantage of growth opportunities, Alma becomes part of Rupp AG. The cooperation partner of many years takes over the former cooperative business. At the same time, the family-managed company Rupp pledges to take over all 112 Alma employees, continue the Alma business fields and manage Alma as an independent brand.
Relaunch of the brand appearance
In a comprehensive branding process, a relaunch of the brand appearance is developed. Alma’s profile is authentic & traditional. The Alma creamer woman stays on as a strong brand symbol.
Awards: Alpine creamer of the year
At the Vorarlberg Mountain and Albkäse (alpine cheese) Award Ceremony, Michaela Hammerer wins the prize of dairy farmer of the year in the “hard cheese” category. It is the first time a woman has won in the 26-year history of the award. Overall, 65 of the 103 awarded prizes go to Alma partner dairies.
Relocation to Vorsäß
A shining example of the Alma world was created with the opening of the Alma direct sales shop in Hörbranz in October 2020. The Alma team also moved into the new spaces in front of the headquarters of Rupp AG. In “Vorsäß”, as the employees call it, there is lots of room for new ideas and creativeness.
100 years of Alma
Today, Alma produces natural and processed cheese specialties and offers these in Austria and Germany. Alma also utilizes direct sales out of the four Alma mountain dairies in Vorarlberg, three Alma minimarts, a market stand in market hall nine in Berlin and the Alma online shop. I am looking forward to your visit!