Mexican Corona Beer Owner Dies At 99…
IT WAS a rags-to-riches tale that made headlines and warmed hearts around the world.
Reports emerged this week the billionaire founder of Corona beer had bequeathed $284 million of his fortune to the humble Spanish village he was born in, turning each of its residents into instant multi-millionaires upon his recent death.
Antonino Fernandez, who was born in poverty in the Spanish village of Cerezales del Condado in 1917, apparently didn’t forget his roots after emigrating to Mexico to make his beer fortune. The mogul was reported to have left each of the 80 people in the village $3.36 million in his will prior to his death in August at the age of 99.
But in news sure to disappoint everyone — not least those villagers — it turns out Fernandez did no such thing, the communications director for the town’s cultural centre confirmed.
“I’m afraid I have to deny this specific fact, the information that has been published is not correct,” Lucía Alaejos from the Fundanción Cerezales Antonino y Cinia told Buzzfeed News.
She told The Local: “It seems someone got the wrong end of the stick and the story has just grown and grown. It’s got completely out of hand.”
But Ms Alaejos said the beer mogul did do “a lot” for the village during his life, including donating money to cultural institutions and churches.
He also reportedly left a considerable chunk of his fortune to his relatives, who visit the village each year.
“Many of them [Fernandez’s family members] still visit for some months each summer, so it is great for the village and keeps it alive,” Ms Alaejos said.
Fernandez, who was one of 13 siblings, was forced to leave school at the age of 14 because his family couldn’t afford the fees.
He packed up and left for Mexico with his wife when he was 32 to make his fortune. He eventually became the CEO of Grupo Modelo in 1971, the company that brews the world-famous Corona beer.
Corona Extra is the second most imported bottled beer in the United States and rakes in $935 million a year in sales.
A Spanish businessman is being remembered for investing heavily in his hometown.
When 98-year-old Antonino Fernández died earlier this year, his estate was valued at around $210 million. Fernández used some of his wealth to invest in fresh drinking water, the restoration of a church and the redevelopment of a public square in his hometown Cerezales del Condado in the northwest of Spain, according to the BBC.
“I do not know what we would have done without Antonino,” Cerezales del Condado bar owner Maximino Sanchez told a local paper.
However, the extent of his generosity did not extend to bequeathing every resident of the town millions in his will.
“I can confirm he didn’t leave money to his villagers in his will,” Lucia Alajos, communications chief for Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, a cultural and contemporary art center established by Fernandez, said, according to Mashable. “His family recently opened his will and we actually don’t know who got the money from the inheritance. But it’s definitely not the town or his neighbors.”
Fernández was already a highly decorated philanthropist whose legacy includes several charities that help the disabled to find employment.