The 15 richest Brits in drinks

Based on the Sunday Times Rich List 2020, which came out last weekend, we profile those that have made their fortune from the drinks industry.

Last weekend, The Sunday Times revealed its 2019 Rich List, which charts the rise and fall of the country’s wealthiest individuals in every conceivable sector.

Recent acquisitions, changes in consumer habits, and the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on sales have shaken up our ranking of the wealthiest men and women in drinks this year.

While there has been little movement at the top, the estimated worths of many Rich List members have fallen due to bars and restaurants being closed, or risen thanks to some canny investment management.

The UK drinks industry is full of multi-millionaires and billionaires blazing a trail of success – but who are the wealthiest folk in wine, beer and spirits in 2020?

Click through to see our profiles on the 15 wealthiest people in the drinks industry today.


15. Leonard Russell and Family


Position 2019: 775

Position 2018: 601

Worth: £202 million

Rise/Fall: +£50m

Sources: Spirits and Brewing

Leonard Russell, 58, is the managing director of Ian Macleod Distillers, which makes the rapidly-growing Edinburgh Gin brand and well as whisky labels Glengoyne, Smokehead, Tamdhu and King Robert II.

In 2017, Ian Macleod Distillers announced plans to reopen the historic Rosebank distillery in Falkirk, which had been in operation since 1817 until it was closed by Diageo in 1993. Ian Macleod secured an £80m refinancing package to support the revival of the distillery.

Russell’s spirits group was fast to latch on to the UK’s gin boom, launching Edinburgh Gin in 2010. This, coupled with a rise in Scotch exports, took Ian Macleod’s profits to £25.5m between 2017 and 2018, up 65%. The company launched Edinburgh Gin’s first TV ad campaign last December.

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