LVMH and Cuervo tycoons top spirits billionaires

8th April, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

The CEO of Hennessy owner LVMH and the chairman of Jose Cuervo Tequila have been named the richest spirits bosses in the world by Forbes. 

Hennessy Brand Champs

Hennessy Cognac is owned by French luxury goods company LVMH

Jeff Bezos, founder of e-commerce giant Amazon, is the world’s richest man for the third year in a row, according to Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list, with a wealth of US$113 billion.

After Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of French luxury goods firm LVMH, overtook business magnate Warren Buffett to take third place for the first time. LVMH’s Moët Hennessy drinks subsidiary includes brands such as Belvedere vodka and Hennessy Cognac.

At  number 458, Juan Francisco Beckmann Vidal, chairman of Jose Cuervo Tequila, has a net worth of US$4.8bn. His son, Juan Domingo Beckmann Legorreta, is CEO of Jose Cuervo. The Tequila company went public in February 2017 and raised more than US$900 million, Forbes said.

Placing at 537th on the list is Anthony von Mandl, the founder and CEO of Mark Anthony Group, creator of brands such as White Claw Hard Seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. For 2020, Mark Anthony Group predicts sales of around US$4bn.

In the past year, the firm has invested US$250m in building a new facility for its White Claw Hard Seltzer brand in Arizona to meet “explosive demand”, and recently acquired the remaining 60% stake in Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery for an undisclosed sum.

Fast-growing Tito’s

Bert ‘Tito’ Beveridge, founder of fast-growing Tito’s Handmade Vodka, stood at number 573 with a net worth of US$3.6bn. Texas-based Tito’s sold an estimated 88m bottles of vodka in 2018, up from 63m in 2017, Forbes noted.

Tito’s became the best-selling spirit in the US in 2019, knocking Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka off the top spot for the first time in more than a decade.

Richard Sands, of US drinks group Constellation Brands, occupied the 807th spot at US$2.7bn. He controls the group with his brother, Robert Sands (number 1,007 on the Forbes list).

The firm, which owns Svedka vodka, High West whiskey and major beer brands such as Corona, recently reported a 6.4% net sales decline for its wine and spirits business in fiscal 2020.

Robert Sands stepped down as CEO of the group on 1 March 2019 and was succeeded by its president, Bill Newlands. Robert Sands moved to the position of executive chair, while his brother became executive vice chair.

Luca Garavoglia, chairman of Italian drinks firm Campari Group, placed at number 834 with a net worth of US$2.7bn. Forbes said Garavoglia now owns around 27% of the company, which produces Skyy vodka, Aperol and Wild Turkey Bourbon.

Charles Bronfman, former co-chairman of Seagram’s, took the 940th spot with a net worth of US$2.3bn.

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