Forbes recently released their annual list of the wealthiest people in the world. Thirteen people on the Full List Of The World’s 500 Richest People are involved in the alcohol industry, at least in part. Of those 13, ten are involved in beer companies.
The World’s Richest Booze Barons
- Bernard Arnault & family, LVMH (France)
Founded 2008; The French luxury brands conglomerate LVMH owns a bewildering array of high-ends brands such as Bulgari, Dior, Louis Vuitton, TAGHeuer, but their wine and spirits division includes such brands as Belvedere Vodka, Dom Perignon, Glenmorangie, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Veuve Clicquot, and several others
Forbes Richest List: #15; $33.5 billion
- Jorge Paulo Lemann, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and also co-founded the Brazilian investment banking firm Banco Garantia, which today is known as Banco de Investimentos Credit Suisse (Brazil)
Founded 2008; Along with Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Marcel Herrmann Telles, formed ABI, which was created out of a merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev (which itself was a merger of InterBrew and AmBev from 2004, and each of those companies were the results of previous mergers, as well). Just a few of their numerous beer brands include, Beck’s, Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois
Forbes Richest List: #34; $19.7 billion
- Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila & family, SABMiller (Colombia)
Founded 1864; Alejandro Santo Domingo, a Colombian-American financier, owns a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer responsible for brands such as Fosters, Grolsch, Miller, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell
Forbes Richest List: #102; $11.1 billion
- Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, Heineken International (The Netherlands)
Founded 1864; Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is the daughter of Freddy Heineken, the Dutch industrialist, and Lucille Cummins, an American from a Kentucky family of Bourbon whiskey distillers, and is the controlling owner of the world’s third-largest brewer, Heineken International, which owns a worldwide portfolio of over 170 beer brands in addition to Heineken
Forbes Richest List: #116; $10.4 billion
- Marcel Herrmann Telles, Anheuser-Busch InBev, along with retailer Lojas Americanas and real estate investment firm São Carlos Empreendimentos e Participações SA (Brazil)
Founded 2008; Along with Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Jorge Paulo Lemann, formed ABI, which was created out of a merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev (which itself was a merger of InterBrew and AmBev from 2004, and each of those companies were the results of previous mergers, as well). Just a few of their numerous beer brands include, Beck’s, Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois
Forbes Richest List: #119; $10.2 billion
- Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Real Estate Tycoon and owner of ThaiBev, (Thailand)
Founded 1991; Sirivadhanabhakdi is a drinks entrepreneur who created Chang Beer, teaming up with Carlsberg in 1991 as part of a joint venture to tap into Thailand’s growing beer market, which at the time was dominated by the Boon Rawd Brewery, which brewed Singha beer. Three years later he launched his own beer Chang (Thai for ‘elephant’), which went on to take 60% of the local market share.
Forbes Richest List: #141; $9 billion
- Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Anheuser-Busch InBev (Brazil)
Founded 2008; Along with Marcel Herrmann Telles and Jorge Paulo Lemann, formed ABI, which was created out of a merger of Anheuser-Busch and InBev (which itself was a merger of InterBrew and AmBev from 2004, and each of those companies were the results of previous mergers, as well). Just a few of their numerous beer brands include, Beck’s, Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois
Forbes Richest List: #146; $8.9 billion
- Pierre Castel & family, Groupe Castel (France)
Founded 1949; The French drinks company which Pierre founded with his his eight siblings owns or co-owns 22 French vineyards, plus 1,600 acres of vineyards in Africa, primarily in Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia. In 1990, they bought the African Brasseries et Glacières Internationales and has since built 45 breweries in Africa, where they now have 25% of the market there, with their two biggest beer brands, Flag and Castel
Forbes Richest List: #166; $8 billion
- Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala & family, Tresalia Capital / Grupo Modelo (Mexico)
Founded 1925; Grupo Modelo is the largest brewery in Mexico, with 63% of the Mexican beer market, and brews Corona, Modelo, Negra Modelo, Pacífico, Victoria, and others
Forbes Richest List: #270; $5.2 billion
- Walter Faria, Grupo Petropolis (Brazil)
Founded 1994; Beer and Soft drinks company whose beer brands include Itaipava, Crystal, Lokal, Black Princess, Petra and others
Forbes Richest List: #396; $3.8 billion
- Rosa Anna Magno Garavoglia & family, Gruppo Campari (Italy)
Founded 1860; Brands include Campari, Cinzano, SKYY vodka, Wild Turkey and two dozen more liquors
Forbes Richest List: Tie #446; $3.5 billion
- Lorenzo Mendoza & family, Empresas Polar (Venezuela)
Founded 1941; Conglomerate of 40 different companies with a vast portfolio of food and drinks, including Polar Beer
Forbes Richest List: Tie #446; $3.5 billion
- Jean Pierre Cayard, La Martiniquaise (France)
Founded 1936; La Martinique Rum, Porto Cruz and Poliakov Vodka
Forbes Richest List: #483; $3.3 billion
In addition, Forbes also created a list of America’s Richest Families, of which eight of the 179 listed are engaged in the alcohol trade, or at least made their fortunes in alcohol.
America’s Richest Booze Families
- Busch Family, Anheuser-Busch
Founded: 1876; Although they recently lost control of their beer empire, the 30 or so members of the Busch family are still worth a cool 13 billion, enough to even buy some more expensive beer with flavor.
Forbes Families List: #17; $13 billion
- Brown Family, Brown-Forman
Founded 1870; The 25 members of the Brown family of Kentucky control a wine and spirits giant that includes such brands as Early Times, Finlandia vodka, Jack Daniels, Korbel, Southern Comfort and many others.
Forbes Families List: #20; $13 billion
- Gallo Family, E&J Gallo Winery
Founded 1933; Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo started their wine business in a shed in Modesto, California. Today there are around 14 family members still running the show, which is the largest U.S. wine company, accounting for one-quarter of all American wine. They also produce brandy, cider, gin, vodka, and wine coolers, along with numerous wine labels.
Forbes Families List: #25; $9.7 billion
- Reyes Family, Reyes Holdings, including beer distributors Reyes Beverage Group
Founded 1976; Christopher and M. Jude Reyes are co-chairs of the company. David “Duke” Reyes is the CEO of Reyes Beverage Group, the largest beer distributor in the U.S., while brothers James and Tom are executives at Reyes Beverage Group and brother William is a director of Reyes Holdings.
Forbes Families List: #29; $8 billion
- Wirtz Family, Wirtz Beverage Group
Founded 1926; Although they started out in real estate, they made their fortune selling alcohol beginning in 1945, and they’ve also owned the Chicago Blackhawks since 1954
Forbes Families List: #64; $4.2 billion
- Coors Family, Coors Brewing
Founded 1873; Adolph Coors founded the brewery in Golden, Colorado, and today the Coors family owns over 15% of MolsonCoors. Until 2002, Adolph’s great-grandson Peter Coors was CEO of Coors, but today is the chairman of MillerCoors.
Forbes Families List: Tie #81; $2.9 billion
- John Anderson Family, Topa Equities, Ltd, which includes L.A. Bud distributor Ace Beverage Co.
Founded 1956; The son of a barber who attended UCLA on a hockey scholarship, Anderson launched Ace Beverage in 1956 with exclusive rights to deliver Budweiser in Los Angeles. Topa Equities still has interests in beer distribution, plus real estate, insurance, and car dealerships.
Forbes Families List: Tie #94; $2.5 billion
- Jackson Family, Jackson Family Wines
Founded 1956; Jess Stonestreet Jackson and wife Barbara Banke, both lawyers, co-founded Jackson Family Wines in California in the 1980s, perhaps best know for their Kendall Jackson wines. After Jackson died of cancer at age 81 in 2011, Banke became chairman and proprietor. All five of Jackson’s children also hold interests in the company and are active in running it. Don Hartford, husband of daughter Jenny Jackson-Hartford, is CEO. The family owns 35 vineyards, including nearly 30,000 acres in California, that sell more than 6 million cases of wine a year. The flagship winery is Kendall Jackson in Sonoma County.
Forbes Families List: Tie #100; $2.3 billion
And finally, on the list of the Forbes 400, the Richest People in America, a couple of family members from the previous family list also made it onto this list with their personal wealth.
America’s Richest Booze Barons
- 134. J. Christopher Reyes, Reyes Holdings; $3.7 billion; World Rank: 450
- 134. Jude Reyes, Reyes Holdings; $3.7 billion; World Rank: 450
- 371. Richard Yuengling, Jr., Yuengling Brewery; $1.4 billion; World Rank: 1156
The cut-off this year for the Forbes 400 was around $1.3 billion. If you’re worth less than that, you don’t quite make the list, but Forbes also created a small list of people they think are the Ones to Watch.
- 401. Jim Koch, Boston Beer Co.; $1 billion; World Rank: Unknown
Koch was the richest person on the “Ones to Watch” list, so with a little luck he’ll join Dick Yuengling in the Billionaire Beer Boys Club next year.