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The richest Brits in drinks 2016

It’s that time of year again when The Sunday Times Rich List reveals the wealthiest people in the UK – but how have the drinks industry’s leading figures fared this year?

This year we’ve decided to list every drinks trade figure that features in the extensive 1000-place list, which covers fortunes ranging from a not-to-be-sniffed-at £100 million to staggering several billions.

Our drinks figures represent this range well, with independent family run businesses at the lower end quickly shifting up to the families behind the world’s biggest conglomerates who either base their fortunes on the alcohol trade or operate a drinks business on the side of their main interest.

Click through to find out the biggest British players in the wine, beer and spirits industries.

=12. John Rudd, Berry Bros & Rudd, wine and spirits merchant

John Rudd, 89, heads the famous London wine and spirits merchant – the oldest drinks retailer in Britain and recipient of the Royal Warrant. It operates from the same St James’ shop that it has for over 300 years since it was founded in 1698.

Mr Rudd is worth £110 million, putting him in joint-12th on our list and joint-885th in the UK overall.

=12. Tony and Barbara Laithwaite, Laithwaites Wine, wine merchant

Back in 1969, Tony Laithwaite bought a Ford van and started bringing back wine from Bordeaux to sell in the UK. This turned into Bordeaux Direct, a company whose focus gradually expanded across France and even as far afield as Rioja, Bulgaria and Australia – hardly mainstream features of the UK market in the 70s.

Nearly half a century on he remains owner of this business, now called Laithwaites Wine, which retains the original direct sourcing ethos from the early days.

The company is now part of Direct Wines, a mail order group wholly owned by the Laithwaite family with franchise or distribution agreements in continental Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India.

They too are worth £110 million.

=12. Nigel Jagger, Octavian Vaults, wine storage business

Nigel Jagger

Nigel Jagger is the Jersey-based founder and owner of Octavian Vaults, the fine wine storage firm which operates underground vaults for securing wine.

He is estimated to be worth £110 million, making him the joint-885th richest person in the UK and also placing him joint-12th in our list.

11. Yevgeny Chichvarkin, Hedonism Wines, wine retailer

Yevgeny Chichvarkin in 2008 (Photo: Wiki)

Russian-born Yevgeny made his £120 million fortune in the mobile phone business before opening his famous Hedonism Wines store in Mayfair, London.

The store is known for its ecclectic collection of over 5,500 wines and 3,000 spirits, and is a favourite of west London’s uber rich.

Thanks to its popularity, Mr Chichvarkin is now the 831st richest man in the country.

10. Sir Peter Michael, Peter Michael Winery, wine producer

Sir Peter Michael, third from left, with his team at the California winery

Sir Peter Michael is the man behind Peter Michael Winery, the Californian wine business he set-up in 1982 after buying 640 acres of land in Knights Valley.

The businessman, worth £150 million, is also well known as the founder of Classic FM, the UK classical music radio station. He is the 685th richest man in the UK.

9. The Hillman Family, Angus Dundee, whisky distiller

The Hillmans, led by brother and sister Aaron, 51, and Tania, 53, are the family behind Scotch whisky company Angus Dundee – specialists in bulk whisky production and own-brand Scotches.

They are worth £175 million, the same as last year, making them the 598th richest in the country.

8. Sting, Villa Il Palagio, wine producer


Although Sting is best-known as a musician, his Italian wine estate Il Palagio in Tuscany is proving very successful, not only as a wine producer but also a hideaway for famous guests.

He is worth £185 million, up £5 million on last year, and is the 564th richest person in Britain.

7. Silvio Denz, Château Faugères, wine producer

Silvio Denz

Swiss-born businessman Silvio Denz owns the Saint-Emilion winery Château Faugères along with his main art and fragrances business.

The 59-year-old is worth £212 million, up £2 million on last year, making him the joint-486th richest person in the UK.

6. John Apthorp and family, Majestic Wine, wine retailer

John Apthorp

Mr Apthorp, who has just turned 81, built national wine retailer Majestic Wine, in which his family has a £40 million stake.

He and his family have jumped up the rankings since last year, placing 418th compared to last years 719th position, owing to the successful merger of Majestic and Naked Wines as well as the other well-placed investments.

The family are now worth £250 million.

5. Vivian Imerman, Whyte & Mackay, spirits producer

Vivian Imerman

South Africa-born Imerman is the former owner of Whyte & Mackay, the Scottish spirits business famous for the Scotch brand of the same name.

Along with his former brother-in-law Robert Tchenguiz, he sold the business to Diageo subsidiary United Spirits in 2007 for £595 million, for which he received £396 million thanks to his 60% stake in the company.

He is now worth £385 million, up £30 million on last year, putting him in 291st place in the UK rankings.

4. De Hann family, Bancroft Wines, wine importer

Peter De Haan is chairman of Bancroft Wines, and is part of the 126th richest family in the UK along with his brother, Sir Roger De Haan who made his fortune in the travel and insurance businesses.

Bancroft Wines is a private and wholesale wine importer that was set-up in 1999.

Peter and his brother have a combined worth of £900 million, down £50m on last year.

2. The Grant-Gordon family, William Grant & Sons, spirits producer

William Grant and Sons’ leading brands

William Grant & Sons was founded by the family in 1887 and has grown to become one of the leading players in the international spirits trade.

The business produces some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Grant’s. In addition, it also produces Irish whiskey Tullamore D.E.W  and recently acquired the Drambuie liqueur brand.

The family are the 49th richest in the UK, worth £2.15 billion. Despite being worth £10m more than last year, they actually slipped a place to 49th in the UK-wide rankings. However, they are still a very impressive 2nd place in our list.

1. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken & Michel de Carvalho, Heineken, beer company

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken

Taking 7th place in the UK Rich List is a family that owes much of its wealth to the world’s thirst for Heineken lager.

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken owns a controlling interest in the world’s third largest brewer – which is soon to be the second largest when AB InBev and SABMiller complete their merger.

She inherited her 25% stake from her late father Freddy Heineken, grandson of the Dutch brewery’s founder, in only 2002, but since then she and her husband have expanded their influence and now own a commanding stake worth £8.43 billion.

Add that to their other business ventures, and the family are worth a staggering £9.15 billion, up a whole £2 billion on last year.

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