drinks industry rich list 2023 whisky and dollar money

Forbes magazine and The Sunday Times newspaper have revealed their 2023 Rich Lists. As a result, I have updated below the list for the richest people in the Drinks Industry, based both in the UK and other locations worldwide where updated sources were available…

Bernard Arnault and family (LVMH) – worth £169bn

Bernard Arnault is the CEO of French luxury brands conglomerate LVMH, and still the richest man in the world to have vested interests in the drinks trade with a personal fortune of over £30bn. He has proposed a reorganisation of his holding company (Agache), which also has interests in fashion and retail, to give equal stakes to his five children.

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. 

Saji and Torii families (Beam Suntory) – worth £17.1bn

Chairman Nobutada Saji’s grandfather made Suntory Holdings a household name in Japan. Founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1899, the company’s family ownership helped Saji’s ability to acquire US distiller Beam back in 2014, and the result is global drinks giant Beam Suntory. Nobutada Saji himself has a personal worth of an estimated £960m.

Saji’s nephew Nobuhiro Torii (pictured above), a great grandson of Suntory’s founder, was promoted to COO and executive vice president of Suntory Holdings in 2016.

Bacardi family (Bacardi) – worth £14.3bn

The great-great grandson of Bacardi founder, Facundo L. Bacardi picture: Reuters
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho (Heineken) – worth £13.1bn (up £1.7bn)

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken took over from father Freddy Heineken after his death in 2002 as controlling shareholder of the Dutch brewer with a 23% stake — a role she describes as being “a guardian” of the company founded by her great-grandfather in 1864. Alexander, the oldest of her five children, is on the board of the holding company. Heineken is the second largest brewer in the world with Amstel, Bulmers Cider, Tiger Beer, Red Stripe, Strongbow Cider and Newcastle Brown Ale. They also have a 10% stake in Double Dutch Drinks, a London-based maker of tonics and mixers. 

“Yes, I didn’t like the fact that my name was on every cafe when I was at school, but that’s OK now.” Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken

Jorge Paulo Lemann (AB Inbev) – worth £12.7bn

In 1989, the Brazilian-born Lemann took over the Brazilian brewer Brahma and grew this through numerous acquisitions to the world’s largest beer company AB InBev. To this day, he is one of the main shareholders and the management is dominated by his people.

Pierre Castel (Castel Frères) – worth £11.8bn (up £1.6bn)

Castel founded the company in 1949 and wine is central to the French group’s portfolio, owning 21 estates in Bordeaux and Provence, including controlling shares in Château Beychevelle, as well as numerous brands from lands it owns across France and also Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia and big négociant houses such as Barton & Guestier and Patriarche.

The real money-spinner though is beer. Before it was acquired by AB InBev last year, SAB Miller had formed a partnership with Castel whereby SAB owned 20% of Castel and Castel owned 38% of SAB’s African business. The Frenchman Castel is the richest of French tax exiles, given that he is a Switzerland resident.

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (Thai Beverage) – worth £11.9bn

Thailand’s largest brewer, known for its Chang beer. International Beverage Holdings Limited was established in 2006 as the international arm of ThaiBev, and its products sell in more than 80 countries around the world. Among the brands in its extensive portfolio are Chang beer, Caorunn gin, Old Pulteney scotch whisky and a range of Chinese wines and Chinese and Thai spirits.

Marcel Herrmann Telles (AB Inbev) – worth £8.5bn

Marcel Hermann Telles (pictured below, far right) is one of the controlling shareholders of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, of which he owns a minority stake.

Carlos Alberto Sicupira (AB Inbev) – worth £6.9bn

Most of Carlos “Beto” Sicupira’s wealth comes from his shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, in which he owns about a 3% stake (pictured above, far left).

Anthony von Mandl (Mark Anthony Brands) – worth £7.2bn (up £500m) 

Anthony von Mandl (pictured below) created the ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages White Claw Hard Seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade through his Mark Anthony Brands.

Alexander Ricard & family (Pernod Ricard) – worth £5.8bn

The family behind the global drinks giant Pernod Ricard, with brands such as Absolut vodka, Jameson Irish whiskey, the Glenlivet, Beefeater, Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Martell Cognac and Havana Club to name a few. It also has a strong wine portfolio, headed up by the Champagnes Perrier-Jouët and Mumm and then the ‘strategic’ wine brands Campo Viejo, Brancott Estate, Jacob’s Creek and Kenwood.

The company as it exists today was created in 1973 when two of France’s leading “anise-based spirits producers, Pernod and Ricard, merged in 1973. By 1976 it began to diversify its portfolio and acquired Irish Distillers (the maker of Jameson) in 1988 and Jacob’s Creek in 1989. In 2001 its acquisition of 40% of the Seagram’s business brought Chivas, Martell and The Glenlivet into its portfolio and the Champagne brands came in 2005 with the acquisition of Allied Domecq; a move which also made it the world’s second largest wine and spirits company.

Jude Reyes (Reyes Holdings) – £5.6bn

Brown family (Brown-Forman) – worth £5.0bn

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala & family (Grupo Modelo/ AB Inbev) – worth £4.9bn

María Asunción Aramburuzabala is by far México’s best known businesswoman. She serves on the board of beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. She inherited a stake in beer giant Grupo Modelo with her mother and sister from her father. Grupo Modelo was sold to AB InBev in 2013 for $20 billion.

Glenn Gordon & family (William Grant & Sons) – worth £4.61bn (up £1.22bn)

The family behind William Grant & Sons remains in buoyant health, despite a drop of £200m in their combined wealth vs. 2021.

William Grant & Sons was founded by the Grant Gordon family in 1887 and has grown to become one of the leading players in the international spirits trade. The company 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 the Drambuie liqueur brand. The business is chaired by Jersey-based Glenn Gordon, 60, the founder’s great-great-grandson. The family ranks in Scotland as one of country’s wealthiest. Founder William Grant pictured below (extreme left).

Its family members also include Edinburgh-born Kirsten Grant Meikle (pictured below), the founder’s great-great-granddaughter, who is director of US strategy at William Grant & Sons.

Bert Beveridge (Tito’s vodka) – worth £3.7bn Bert “Tito” Beveridge is the founder and sole owner of Tito’s Vodka. Tito’s vodka is one of the fastest growing spirits brands in America.

“If someone tells me my brand isn’t a craft-distilled spirit because it’s too big, I just say, ‘I make it the same way I’ve always made it. I just have a lot more stills.'” Bert Beveridge

Beveridge started the company in 1997 with $90,000 borrowed using 19 credit cards. He slept on floors and couches while he built the business.

Juan Domingo Beckmann Legorreta & family (Jose Cuervo) – worth £3.6bn (up £300m)

Beckmann Vidal is chairman of Mexican tequila maker Jose Cuervo, which went public in February 2017 and raised more than $900 million. The company owns Latin America’s oldest active distillery, in the Mexican town of Tequila.

Jose Cuervo has been in the same family for 11 generations. Beckmann Vidal’s son, Juan Domingo Beckmann Legorreta (pictured above), serves as CEO. Juan inherited a nearly 51% stake in tequila firm Becle S.A.B., maker of Jose Cuervo, from his father Juan Francisco Beckmann.

Luca Garavoglia (Campari Group) – worth £3.3bn (up £300m)

Luca Garavoglia campari group

Wang Junlin (Sichuan Langjiu) – worth £2.9bn Wang Junlin chairs Sichuan Langjiu, one of China’s largest spirits suppliers.

Dominique Heriard Dubreuil family (Remy Cointreau) – worth £2.9bn

Dominique Heriard Dubreuil remy cointreau

Beatriz Davila de Santo Domingo (AB Inbev) – worth £2.9bn (up £100m)

Alessandra Garavoglia (Campari Group) – worth £2.7bn (up £220m)

Walter Faria (Grupo Petropolis) – worth £2.65bn

Beer industry veteran Walter Faria bought Grupo Petropolis in 1998 and transformed it into one of Brazil’s largest beer-and-beverage companies. His Grupo Petropolis makes Itaipava beer, one of Brazil’s most popular brews.

Founded in a mountainous region in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Grupo Petrópolis is the country’s only large brewery that is 100% Brazilian owned.

Wu Shaoxun (Jing Brand) – worth £2.6bn (down £300m)

Wu chairs Jing Brand, a supplier of Chinese liquor. He took a job at a distillery factory in Daye in China’s Hubei Province that was the predecessor business of Jing. Wu bought that business in 1998; Jing sales in 2017 exceeded $1.6 billion.

Karen Virginia Beckmann Legorreta (Jose Cuervo) – worth £2.57bn (up £330m) Karen inherited a nearly 36% stake in Becle S.A.B., maker of Jose Cuervo tequila, from her father, Juan Francisco Beckmann Vidal.

Jean-Pierre Cayard (La Martiniquaise) – worth £2.4bn

Jean-Pierre Cayard’s father founded spirits group La Martiniquaise in 1934.

Jean-Pierre, now President, joined in 1970 and has turned it into one of France’s largest spirits groups, with a portfolio of international brands. Its brands include Porto Cruz, a leading Port; Label 5 scotch whiskey brand; and Poliakov, France’s top-selling vodka. More recently they have also acquired the Cutty Sark blended scotch whisky brand.

The private company, which he owns, has 24 production sites and 27 subsidiaries throughout the world. His wife, Edith, is the CEO of La Martiniquaise.

Robert Sands (Constellation Brands) – worth £2.4bn (down £300m)

Richard Sands (Constellation Brands) – worth £1.9bn (down £800m)

Richard and Robert Sands’ father, Marvin, founded a humble wine business in 1945 at age 21. That small operation has grown into a publicly traded behemoth now called Constellation Brands, which generates over $7 billion in annual revenue. Subsidiaries include Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka Vodka. Constellation also holds the rights to Grupo Modelo’s U.S. beer business, including its Modelo and Corona labels.

Alejandro Santo Domingo (AB Inbev) – worth £2.1bn

Charles Bronfman (Seagram’s) – worth £2.0bn Charles Bronfman is long removed from the 2000 deal in which he and nephew Edgar Jr. sold their family’s Seagram spirits to Vivendi for $34 billion.

Ni Yongpei & family (Anhui Yingjia Distillery) – worth £1.8bn (down £200m)

Tatiana Casiraghi (AB Inbev) – worth £1.6bn

Xu Bingzhong (Helens International Holdings) – worth £1.57bn (new entry)

Yuri Shefler (S.P.I. Group/ Stolichnaya vodka) – worth £1.3bn (up £100m)

Yuri Shefler is owner of S.P.I. Group, which produces and sells alcohol under 380 brands in 160 countries. Its best known brand is Stolichnaya vodka, which Shefler bought from state-owned VVO Soyuzplodoimport for $285,000 in 1997. Russia’s Supreme Court ruled the sale illegal in 2001, banning Shefler from selling the vodka inside its borders. In 2014, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium joined Russia in banning sales of Stolichnaya.

S.P.I. owns rum company Louisiana Spirits Company, tequila company Fabrica de Tequilas Finos in Mexico and wine producer Achaval Ferrer in Argentina.

Andres Santo Domingo (AB Inbev) – worth £1.3bn

Yubai Zhang (Yanghe Group) – worth £1.29bn

Jim Koch (The Boston Beer Company) – worth £1.2bn (down £100m) Jim (James) Koch created Samuel Adams beer in 1984 and has since been known as a founding father of the American craft brewery movement.

jim koch the boston beer company
source: The Beer Connoisseur

Tingdong Yang (Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery) – £1.2bn (down £100m)

Sergei Studennikov (Krasnoye & Beloy) – worth £1.2bn

Duke Reyes (Reyes Holdings) – £1.2bn (up £350m)

Molson family (Molson Coors Brewing) – worth £1bn

The Molsons have been able to maintain a powerful position in the beer industry over seven generations. The company is a result of the 2005 merger between Molson and Coors and it is spending US$12 billion to purchase full control of the MillerCoors joint venture, which includes global rights to the Miller brand name. Both Geoff Molson (pictured above) and Andrew Molson are involved in the brewery.

The Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness family (Guinness) – worth £983m (down £17m)
Xu Jin (Anhui Kouzi Distillery) – worth £960m
Abigail Bennett (Constellation Brands) – worth £880m (new entry)
Zachary Stern (Constellation Brands) – worth £880m (new entry)
Liao Chang (Site) – worth £810m

Richard Yuengling, Jr. (D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery) – worth £800m

Richard Yuengling, Jr. D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery

Antares Cheng (Jiugui Liquor) – worth £800m (down £300m)

Vera Rechulski Santo Domingo (AB Inbev) – worth £800m

Adriano and Alexandre Schincariol (Schincariol) – worth £620m

Gilberto Schincariol Junior (Schincariol) – worth £390m

Vivian Imerman (ex Whyte & Mackay) – worth £390m 

Charles Rolls (Fever Tree) – worth £298m 

In 2004 Rolls launched his Fever-Tree Drinks brand with Tim Warrillow, having lamented the lack of high-quality mixers while running his Plymouth Gin business. He has recently announced his retirement as non-executive deputy chairman of the company, having sold a holding of almost £254m since the 2014 float and whilst retaining a £86.1m stake.

James Watt (BrewDog) – worth £262m 

John Apthorp OBE & family (Majestic Wines) – worth £248m 

Martin Dickie (BrewDog) – worth £228m 

Leonard Russell & family (Ian MacLeod Distillers) – worth £202m The West Lothian-based Ian Macleod Distillers totted up £11.5m profit in 2016 and with £51.1m assets is a £125m family-owned operation.

Everardo Ferreira Telles (Ypioca) – worth £200m

David McMullen & family (McMullen & Sons Brewery) – worth £181m 

Tony and Barbara Laithwaite (Laithwaites Wine) – worth £164m 

Aaron and Tania Hillman & family (Angus Dundee Distillers) – worth £158m 

Led by brother and sister Aaron and Tania Hillman, the Hillman family owns Angus Dundee Distillers, which produces whisky from its Speyside-based Tomintoul and Eastern Highlands-based Glencadam distilleries. As early as 1948, Sidney Hillman formed a company with the name Burn Stewart and sold whisky from different producers. In time his son, Terence “Terry” Hillman joined and Burn Stewart remained in the family until it was sold in 1988. The same year Terry founded Angus Dundee Distillers with the same business concept – purchasing of whisky to be blended and sold on, today Terry is 87 years old and still sits on the company board which is controlled by his children, Aaron and Tania.

Joe Sloan & family (SHS inc. Merrydown Cider and WKD) – worth £152m 

The Urquhart Family (Gordon & MacPhail) – worth £140m

Mark and Anthony Woodhouse and family (Hall & Woodhouse Brewery) – worth £137m

Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh (Elixir Distillers) – worth £127m  Expect this figure to be higher after the sale of Whisky Exchange and other related businesses in 2021 to Pernod Ricard for an undisclosed sum (estimated to be £429m).

Rajbir Singh, left, and brother Sukhinder picture: Tom Stockill

Tim Warrillow (Fever Tree) – worth £123m

John Rudd & family (Berry Bros & Rudd) – worth £110m

Established in 1698, the company largely handles wine, but sells spirits including  No.3 London Dry Gin, and also bottles its own line of spirits.

Charlie Morgan and Jackson Quinn (AU Vodka) – worth £55m each (up £15m)

AU Vodka's Charlie Morgan and Jackson Quinn
AU Vodka’s Charlie Morgan and Jackson Quinn

Note that for simplicity, I have excluded from the Rich List above people who have significant business interests in different areas and included only those who sole or main assets are within the Drinks Industry where possible (unless the assets derived from drinks were provided).

Sources used:


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