San Antonio/ Retail & Industry
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Published on April 11, 2024
San Antonio Mourns the Loss of Beer Titan and Philanthropist Carlos Alvarez at 73Source: Haven for Hope

The beer and philanthropy scenes of San Antonio were rocked by the news that Carlos Alvarez, the man behind the American introduction of Modelo and Corona, and a major craft beer influencer through his ownership of Shiner Beer, has passed away at the age of 73. His company, The Gambrinus Company, which Alvarez founded in 1986, announced his death on Tuesday, the San Antonio Report stated.

In a gesture to honor the community stalwart, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called for a moment of silence during a City Council meeting. "Carlos Alvarez was a generous philanthropist and supporter of higher education. He helped to significantly deepen the economic and cultural ties between our community and Mexico," Nirenberg remarked in a social media post, as reported by Texas Public Radio.

Alvarez, born in Mexico City, got his start in the beer industry through his father's distributorship in Acapulco. He later would go on to expand Modelo's export business before introducing Corona to Texas in 1981. He personally sold the beer to bars and restaurants in Austin, a move that would eventually elevate Corona to the top imported beer in the U.S. by 1997. But it wasn’t just Alvarez’s business acumen that left its mark on San Antonio; his philanthropic efforts also resonated deeply within the community.

The impact of Alvarez’s philanthropy was multifaceted and enduring. He and his wife, Malú, generously contributed to local cultural and educational initiatives. Their $20 million donation to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in 2021 was the institution's largest-ever gift from a living donor, leading to the business school being renamed in his honor. "We were honored to name the Carlos Alvarez College of Business in recognition of his impact," UTSA President Taylor Eighmy stated on social media, a sentiment echoed, according to the San Antonio Report.

Alvarez is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. His legacy, which extends beyond beer to encompass a wide range of civic investments — including a $2 million contribution to Texas Public Radio, major support for the Alamo, and funds to assist with COVID-19 testing and scholarships — ensures that his influence will continue to be felt in the San Antonio community for many years to come. “An extremely generous man,” said Pat Frost, former president of Frost Bank, in a statement captured by the San Antonio Report.