Beer money? No riches for residents of tiny Spanish village after Corona founder's death

© Victor Ruiz Garcia
The billionaire founder of the Corona brewery, Antonino Fernandez, who died in August this year and allegedly left his birthplace a large slice of his riches did no such thing, according to the residents of Cerezales del Condado, Spain.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The previous version of this text contained a false report on the news. It has been revised.

It’s simply not true, unfortunately,” said Lucia Alaejos from the Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, the cultural center founded in the village under Fernandez’s patronage, as  by the Local.

She claims the villagers were left open-mouthed at the news that suddenly proclaimed them millionaires. It’s been widely reported that 80 residents of the sleepy Spanish village had been left $210 million – or more than $2 million each – in Fernandez’s will.

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,” Alaejos said, according to the news outlet. 

She did confirm that the founder of the company that produces, for instance, the second most-imported bottled beer in the United States, had left part of his huge fortune to the descendants of his 13 siblings as he had no children of his own.

“Many of them still visit for some months each summer, so it is great for the village and keeps it alive,” she stated, stressing that “the villagers won’t be sharing in that inheritance directly.”

The total inheritance left to those relatives in Spain is reported to be around that same sum of $210 million.

That inheritance is a private matter for the family,” Alaejos is cited as saying.

Despite this recent revelation, however, it is no exaggeration to say that Fernandez was personally keeping Cerezales del Condado and its people alive, though he was more than 8,000km away dedicated to his business.

The tycoon placed a network of new pipelines that allowed water supply to all residents because in 2006 some still had no such commodity; he supervised the maintenance of the cemetery and the roads; he ordered the renovation of the square, restored the church and the chapel, El Pais , citing Maximino Sanchez, the owner of the town’s bar and the president of the neighborhood council.

The billionaire – who was previously honored by the former King of Spain for his charitable deeds – left additional money in his will to give the town a brand new cultural center, and a local non-profit foundation with 300 employees will also benefit from his generosity.

Fernández became the CEO of Grupo Modelo when he was 32, having previously immigrated to Mexico in 1949. He became the founder of Corona beer, and was hugely responsible for its success as Mexico's most-popular beer.

He created a number of philanthropic organizations through the years. One of those is Soltra, which offers employment to people with disabilities. A similar company was set up under his wife's name in the Mexican state of Puebla.