Although it can be tough to get started in the beer, wine or spirits business, success can mean truly transformational wealth, as illustrated by the names on this list. Forbes recently released the 2015 edition of their annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, which we combed through to find the folks who built their fortunes making beer, wine, spirits or in some cases, all of the above. We narrowed the list to people who earned (or inherited) their money primarily through the booze business, which is why you won’t see folks like Bernard Arnault, whose luxury empire LVMH includes Moet Hennessy along with fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and retailers like Sephora.
Meet the 22 richest booze billionaires in the world, including their rank on Forbes’ list:
#26 Jorge Paulo Lemann – $25 Billon (Brazil)
Jorge Paulo Lemann, the wealthiest person in the world whose fortune derives from the booze business, ranks 26th overall, and first in his native Brazil. Mr. Lemann, who is joined by two other countrymen, made their collective fortunes through their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev, largest brewer in the world.
#87 Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi – $13.2 Billion (Thailand)
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is the owner of Chang, the largest brewer in Thailand. He also produces a popular rum called Sang Som. With vast real estate holdings as well, he’s the second wealthiest person in Thailand.
#89 Marcel Herrmann Telles – $13 Billon (Brazil)
Marcel Herrmann Telles is one of Mr. Lemann’s partners in 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev.
#107 Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken – $11.6 Billion (Netherlands)
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, the richest person in the Netherlands, and one of the world’s wealthiest women, inherited her 25% stake in Heineken from her father.
#110 Carlos Alberto Sicupira – $11.3 Billion (Brazil)
Carlos Alberto Sicupira is one of Mr. Lemann’s partners in 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev.
#125 Pierre Castel – $9.9 Billion (France)
France’s Pierre Castel, along with his family, runs Groupe Castel, a beer, wine and soft-drink maker founded in Bordeaux back in 1949. Looking to the future, they have a strong presence in Africa.
#265 Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala – $5.6 Billion (Mexico)
Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala and her family owned a controlling stake in Grupo Modelo, the massive Mexican brewer that Anheuser-Busch Inbev took off their hands a couple of years ago for $20.1 billion.
#369 Alejandro Santo Domingo – $4.4 Billion (United States)
One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Alejandro Santo Domingo and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.
#369 Andres Santo Domingo – $4.4 Billion (United States)
One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Andres Santo Domingo and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.
#512 Walter Faria – $3.4 Billion (Brazil)
Walter Faria is a Brazilian beer baron. Itaipava, his beer, is the second most popular in his home country of Brazil.
#577 Jean Pierre Cayard – $3.1 Billion (France)
Jean Pierre Cayard inherited a spirits congolmorate from his father. Over the past three decades he’s grown the business, which owns the best-selling Port in the world (Porto Curz), along with popular scotch and vodka brands.
#810 Charles Bronfman – $2.3 Billion (Canada)
Charles Bronfman is the heir of a family that made their name in the booze business, with their firm Seagram. Vivendi took Seagram off their hands back in 2000 for $34 billion.
#847 Tatiana Casiraghi – $2.2 Billion (United States)
31-year-old Tatiana Casiraghi is worth a cool $2.2 billion, a fortune she inherited from her father, as her three relatives did in the swap of Colombian-based Bavaria to SABMiller. She’s also a princess whose husband is said to be second in line to the throne of Monaco.
#847 C. Dean Metropoulos – $2.2 Billion (United States)
C. Dean Metropoulos has made a name for himself turning around ‘nostalgia’ brands. His biggest hit? Pabst Blue Ribbon, which he sold in 2014.
#847 Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III – $2.2 Billion (United States)
One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.
#1105 Yuri Shefler – $1.8 Billion (Russia)
Shefler’s S.P.I. Group produces nearly 400 brands of alcohol, which are sold all around the world. Stolichnaya is his most popular brand, though he bought it for practically nothing during the wild days of privatization in Russia — which has led to endless lawsuits.
#1105 Richard Yuengling, Jr. – $1.8 Billion (United States)
The Yuengling family’s business is far and away the largest privately owned brewery left in America, and Dick Yuengling as he’s known, is the latest family member to run the firm.
#1324 Benedicta Chamberlain $1.4 Billion (United Kingdom)
Benedicta Chamberlain and her family produce Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Hendrik’s gin among other brands.
#1415 Jim Koch – $1.3 Billion (United States)
Jim Koch started brewing beer back in 1984. He runs Boston Beer Company, the largest craft brewery in America, whose flagship brand is Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
#1638 Carolus Nolet, Sr. – $1.1 Billion (Netherlands)
Carolus Nolet’s family has been producing spirits since the late 17th century. Ten generations later, in 1979, Carolus took over the family firm. Back in 2008 he sold a 50% stake in their Ketel One brand to Diageo for $900 million.
#1741 Ken Grossman – $1 Billion (United States)
Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada back in 1978, when craft brewing was unheard of. Today the West Coast pioneer runs the second-largest craft brewery in America. Unlike Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada is privately owned.
#1741 Nobutada Saji – $1 Billion (Japan)
Nobutada Saji leads Suntory Holdings, which made headlines around the world last year when they snapped up the firm behind Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark for $16 billion.
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