Corona founder makes Spanish villagers multimillionaires

By James Evison

- Last updated on GMT

Philanthropist: Antonino Fernandez Rodriguez
Philanthropist: Antonino Fernandez Rodriguez

Related tags Mexico Grupo modelo

Man responsible for developing Corona into one of the world's biggest beer brands has gifted all 80 residents in his home town with £2m in his will.

Antonino Fernandez Rodriguez, who founded the Corona brand, died at the age of 98 in August this year, and it has now been revealed that he left £169m of his personal fortune to residents of the northern Spanish village of Cerezales del Condado.

Mexican years

Fernandez was born in 1917 and grew up in the village before moving to Mexico in 1949, where he worked for the Grupo Modelo Brewery and helped establish its global beer portfolio, including Corona. He became CEO of the company in the 1970s until 1997 and then chairman of the board until 2005 at which point he was a billionaire.

During his time at the firm, he established local Mexican engineers as brewers, replacing the original German workers how had been assisting on the production line, and growing the brewery to multiple sites across the country.

Corona now sits under global brewer AB InBev and is one of the world's biggest beer brands – valued at more than £60m to the UK marketplace alone.

Fernandez was also noted for his charity work and being a philanthropist, setting up a charity in Spain and Mexico to assist with providing jobs to people with disabilities.

No money

The owner of the only bar in Cerezales del Condado, Maximino Sanchez, told a local Spanish newspaper: "We never had any money before. I don’t know what we would have done without Antonino."

The will also stated that a cultural centre will be paid out from his estate for the village. 

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