USA: American Beer Industry Mourns the Loss of Carlos Alvarez

Carlos Alvarez, the Chairman and former CEO of The Gambrinus Company, and a prominent figure in the American beer industry, has passed away at the age of 73.

Born in Mexico City, Alvarez graduated with a degree in biochemical engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Monterrey, Mexico. He gained experience in the beer trade from his father, who owned a Corona distributorship in Acapulco, Mexico. Alvarez began his career as an export manager for Grupo Modelo, where he successfully expanded sales of Modelo outside of Mexico. In 1981, he personally introduced the Mexican brand Corona to Texas by selling it to bars and restaurants in Austin.

In 1986, Alvarez founded The Gambrinus Company and became the official U.S. importer for Corona, Modelo Especial, and other Modelo brands. He oversaw distribution, sales, and marketing of these products in Texas and states east of the Mississippi River, while Barton Beers Ltd, a division of Constellation Brands, handled distribution in 25 Western states. Over the next two decades, Alvarez played a pivotal role in making Corona the top imported beer in the U.S. by 1997.

However, when Modelo decided to make Constellation Brands the sole importer of its products in the US in 2006, Alvarez faced a significant change.

Despite being in the first years a marketing company without its own production facilities, Gambrinus acquired the historic Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas in 1989. Within a decade, Alvarez transformed it into one of the largest craft brewers in the U.S.

In 2004, Alvarez began introducing Trumer Pils, the flagship brand of a more than 400-year-old Austrian family brewery, to the US market. He established the Trumer Brewery USA in Berkeley, California, where Trumer beer has been brewed for the American market and distributed by Gambrinus.

John Brozovich, son-in-law of Alvarez and president and CEO of The Gambrinus Company, described Alvarez as a leader with charisma and charm, leaving a lasting legacy.

In addition to his business acumen, Alvarez was known for his philanthropy.

In March 2021, he made a USD20 million donation to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), resulting in the institution naming its College of Business after him. Alvarez and his wife were also honored by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which named its transplant center after them. Additionally, Alvarez made significant million dollar donations to Texas Public Radio and the Alvarez Challenge Grant, benefiting scholarship programs for Alamo Promise students at Alamo Colleges.

Carlos Alvarez is survived by his wife, Malú Alvarez, their daughters, Malú Alvarez and Carla Brozovich, son-in-law John Brozovich, and two grandchildren, Carlos Brozovich and Carla Brozovich.

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