Corona founder makes everyone in his Spanish village a millionaire

By Chris Summers

The billionaire founder of the Corona beer has made a lot of people millionaires. Photo / 123RF
The billionaire founder of the Corona beer has made a lot of people millionaires. Photo / 123RF

All 80 residents of the sleepy Spanish village of Cerezales del Condado have just become millionaires.

But their good fortune is not the result of winning El Gordo (The Fat One), Spain's national lottery. It is simply because the hamlet was the birthplace of Antonino Fernández - the founder of Corona beer.

Fernández emigrated to Mexico in 1949, when he was 32, and went on to become the CEO of Grupo Modelo, the brewery company who make Corona beer.

He died in August this year, aged 99, and was by then a billionaire.

Under his eccentric will, $300 million was left to the residents of Cerezales, the village in Leon province where Fernández was born into grinding poverty and grew up, one of 13 children.

So each villager inherited roughly $3.75m.

Maximino Sanchez, who owns a bar in the village, told the Diario de León newspaper: 'We never had any pesete (money) before. I don't know, what we would have done without Antonino.'

At the age of 14 Fernández had to leave school because his parents could not afford the fees.

But he later married Cinia González Díez and when he moved to Mexico he began working for his wife's uncle's company, Grupo Modelo.

By 1971 he had risen to CEO and he helped make Corona not only Mexico's most popular beer but also a huge export phenomenon, including in his native Spain where it is sold under the Coronita brand.

Corona Extra is the second most imported bottled beer in the United States, with annual sales of $988 million.

Fernández never forgot his motherland and was honoured by the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, for his charitable deeds.

But it was only after his death that it was clear to the people of Cerezales how much he loved his birthplace.

The village is also getting a brand new cultural centre, paid for out of his inheritance and a local non-profit foundation with 300 employees will also benefit.

- Daily Mail

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