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 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 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," Alaejos said.

"But the villagers won't be sharing in that inheritance directly."

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.