Close Menu

World’s richest booze billionaires

Every year Forbes publishes its list of the world’s wealthiest individuals – not those that have made millions, but billions – highlighting the movers and shakers of the business world and where they have made their money.

Rounding out the top five richest individuals are a clutch of familiar faces, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates leading the pack with a fortune of $86billion.

Following Gates in the mega money stakes is investor Warren Buffet, with an estimated worth of $75.6bn, the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos ($72.8bn), the owner of high-street fashion house Zara, Amancio Ortega ($71.3), and Mark Zuckerberg (£56bn) of Facebook fame.

But which drinks trade professionals are mixing with the best of the billionaires?

Here we round up the most successful business men and women that have made their fortune in drinks, be it from the beer, wine or spirits industries…

11. Jean Pierre Cayard

World ranking: #693

Country: France

Worth: $2.9bn

Age: 74

Business: Jean Pierre Cayard is the owner of La Martiniquiase, the second largest French drinks company after Pernod Ricard.

Founded in 1936, its brands include rum La Martinique, Label 5 whiskey, Porto Cruz and Poliakov, France’s top selling vodka.

10. Walter Faria

World ranking: #581

Country: Brazil

Worth: $3.3bn

Age: 62

Business: In 1998 Walter Faria bought Grupo Petropolis which went on to become one of Brazil’s largest beer and beverage companies. Petropolis’ Itaipava beer is the country’s second biggest seller after Skol, made by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Prior to Grupo Petropolis, Faria worked as a distributor for Schincariol, a Brazilian brewer bought by Japan’s Kirin Holdings in 2012.

10. Alejandro Bulgheroni

World ranking: #581

Country: Argentina

Worth: $3.3bn

Age: –

The vast majority of Bulgheroni’s wealth comes from his interests in oil and gas, having inherited Argentine energy firm Bridas Corp from his father, who founded the company in 1948. In 2011, the Bulgheroni and his brother Carlos, who died last year, sold a 50% stake in Bridas to China’s state overseas oil company, CNOOC, for $3.1 billion.

His connection to the wine industry is as the founder of Bodega Garzon in Uruguay, which is pioneering a luxury wine tourism concept in the country alongside sustainable wine production. He also has vineyards in Argentina, Australia, California and Tuscany. In 2014 he began a wine growing project in Patagonia, set to become the southernmost vineyard in the world, from which he intends to produce an ice wine.

9. Andres Santo Domingo

World ranking: #348

Country: United States

Worth: $4.7bn

Age: 39

Business: Andres received his riches following the death of his father Julio Mario Santo Domingo in 2011, passing down a massive stake in beer giant SABMiller to his sons, Alejandro and Andres Santo Domingo.

Last year AB InBev completed its merger with SAB Miller – a deal worth $79 billion. SAB Miller and AB InBev agreed the multi billion merger in November, with SABMiller shareholders accepting AB InBev’s cash offer of £45 ($59) a share, valuing the London-listed firm at around £79 billion ($104bn). The new company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, (AB InBev), effectively ending the SAB Miller name. The Santo Domingo family now holds a massive stake in the newly formed company.

Andres graduated from Brown University in 2000 and founded small-time record label Kemado Records two years later. His wife, Lauren, is a contributing editor at Vogue and the founder of Moda Operandi, an online retailer that lets customers buy runway clothes before they land in stores.

9. Alejandro Santo Domingo

World ranking: #348

Country: United States

Worth: $4.7bn

Age: 40

A Harvard graduate, Alejandro is the public face of the Santo Domingo family. As well as his significant interests in the beer industry, Alejandro is also managing director of New York-based Quadrant Capital Advisors and also sits on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, alongside fellow billionaires Leon Black, John Paulson and David Koch.

Together, Alejandro and Andres are the youngest billionaires to appear in this round-up.

8. Juan Francisco Beckmann Vidal

World ranking: #303

Country: Mexico

Worth: $5.2bn

Age: 77

Business: Beckmann Vidal is chairman of the Mexican tequila brand Jose Cuervo.

The company has been in the same family for 11 generations, with Beckmann Vidal’s son, Juan Domingo Beckmann Legorreta, currently its CEO.

In February 2017, the company went public, raising more than $900 million.

7. Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala

World ranking: #250

Country: Mexico

Worth: $5.8bn

Age: 54

Business: María Asunción Aramburuzabala is the CEO of Tresalia Capital and vice-chairman of Grupo Modelo, which makes beers including Corona and Negra Modelo, having inherited a stake in the company after death of her father, Paul Aramburuzabala Ocaranza, in 1995.

Maria’s grandfather, Félix Aramburuzabala, co-founded the brewery in 1925. In 2013, AB InBev bought the remaining 50% stake in the company that it didn’t already own for $20.1 billion in cash.

6. Carlos Alberto Sicupira

World ranking: #96

Country: Brazil

Worth: $12.5bn

Age: 69

Business: The 96th richest man in the world, Carlos Alberto Sicupira owes much of his wealth to his stake in AB InBev, in which he owns a 3% stake. He co-founded the company with fellow billionaires Jorge Paulo Lemann and Marcel Herrmann Telles, through the merger of Brazilian AmBev and Belgian Interbrew, which went on to become AB InBev.

It is now the world’s largest brewer, having merged with SAB Miller last year, and is responsible for more than 200 brands including Budweiser, Corona, Beck’s and Brahma.

The trio of billionaires also own stakes, through their private equity firm 3G Capital, in New York Stock Exchange-listed Restaurant Brands International, parent of Burger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons. In 2013 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought H.J. Heinz & Company for $23 billion. Heinz merged with Kraft in 2015, creating KraftHeinz, the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world.

Outside of his business interests, Sicupira holds multiple world records for underwater spearfishing.

5.  Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken

World ranking: #95

Country: Netherlands

Worth: $12.6bn

Age: 62

Business: The daughter of Freddy Heineken, the Dutch industrialist, and Lucille Cummins, an American from a Kentucky family of Bourbon whiskey distillers, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is the controlling owner of the world’s third-largest brewer, Heineken International, which owns a worldwide portfolio of over 170 beer brands.

She inherited her controlling 23% stake in 2002 following the death of her father. Its brands include Heineken, Red Stripe and Lagunitas.

4. Marcel Herrmann Telles

World ranking: #73

Country: Brazil

Worth: $14.8bn

Age: 67

Business: Marcel Hermann Telles is one of the controlling shareholders of Anheuser-Busch InBev, owning just under 5%, alongside fellow billionaires and longtime business partners Carlos Sicupira and Jorge Paulo Lemann.

Together with Lemann and Sicupira, Telles also controls retailer Lojas Americanas and real estate investment firm São Carlos Empreendimentos e Participações SA.

He has an MBA from Harvard University.

3. Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

World ranking: #62

Country: Thailand

Worth: $15.8bn

Age: 73

Business: Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is a property tycoon and drinks entrepreneur responsible for Thai Beverage, which produces Chang beer and Sang Som rum.

Sirivadhanabhakdi teamed 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 made 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.

The son of a Bangkok street vendor, in 2006 Sirivadhanabhakdi took Thai Beverage public in Singapore after attempts to list the company in Thailand were derailed by protests against the promotion of alcohol.

2. Jorge Paulo Lemann

World ranking: #22

Country: Brazil

Worth: $29.2bn

Age: 77

Business: Jorge Paulo Lemann is a Swiss-Brazilian banker who owns a share of the world’s largest brewer AB InBev, alongside Telles and Sicupira, and is currently the world’s 22nd richest man.

As well as his stake in the beverage industry, Lemann has numerous interests in the financial markets having co-founded the Brazilian investment banking firm Banco Garantia 1971 with Marcel Herrmann Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira. Lemann also once played at Wimbledon as a professional tennis player.

1. Bernard Arnault

World ranking: #11

Country: France

Worth: $41.5bn

Age: 68

Business: Narrowly missing out on the a top 10 place, Bernard Arnault, CEO of French luxury brands conglomerate LVMH, is still the richest man in the world to have vested interests in the drinks trade with a personal fortune of $41.5bn.

The LVMH portfolio includes high-end Champagne brands Dom Perignon, Moët & Chandon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, as well as Hennessy and Château d’Yquem, in addition to fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi. Arnault has been CEO of the company since 1989, with the company reporting on record sales of nearly $40 billion in 2016.

An avid art collector, Arnault was the mastermind behind the $135 million Frank Gehry-designed Foundation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne, which opened in October 2014.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No