JVS Imports was founded almost two decades ago. Sam Filmus and his family began importing and distributing wines from Eastern Europe, and then the business grew in two important directions. The first was the development of JVS as an importer with a national network of distributors for its products, and the second was the growth of JVS as a wholesaler in California. Staying true to its roots, JVS offers a wide assortment of beers and wines from Eastern Europe, but Mr. Filmus and his lifelong friend and Partner Vladimir Zhoglo have also cultivated a large (and growing!) portfolio that includes brandy, mezcal, vodka, scotch, rum, as well as popular American Craft Spirits.
Sam’s career in the beverage industry began two decades ago when he founded JVS. His dream was to bring a taste of his heritage to the United States in the form of wines indigenous to Eastern Europe. There lie the roots of JVS’ portfolio– his dream came alive but he did not stop there. JVS expanded to include every beverage category, and Sam is especially passionate about whisky, which he imports through his other company, ImpEx Beverages. Sam excels at building relationships with partners of all backgrounds in the industry, cultivating a community of enthusiasts and mutual support. Sam is a notorious workaholic, but on the rare occasion that he has a weekend, he enjoys relaxing with his wife, kids, and (believe it or not!) grandkids, as well as spending time outdoors with his Golden Retriever, Skylar.
Vice PresidentVal has been a part of JVS since 1999. It’s hard to believe that at one point, he couldn’t tell the difference between a bourbon and a scotch because having paid his dues in the industry, Val has become an expert on wines, beers and spirits. When his mind isn’t on fine wines and spirits, he’s thinking about the next improvement he wants to make to his backyard, his next motorcycle road trip, or planning his upcoming sailing adventure. Some of his favorite destinations have been in Mexico, Australia, the Caribbean, the Polynesian Islands and Desolation Sound in Canada.
Southern California Division Manager
Chris Uhde is the southern division manager for JVS Wines and has been with the company for over 11 years. He is the Chairman of the United Scottish Society of Southern California and one of the co-founders of Southern California Whiskey Club. In his free time he likes to play soccer.
Northern California Division Manager
Robert joined JVS Imports 6 years ago already having a passion for Scotch Whisky and other world single malts. Robert can be seen traveling throughout Mexico looking for and researching the history of distilled spirits in Mexico. His knowledge of Mexican spirits and single malts is vast but never complete which is what fuels his obsession to learn more. It is rare to see him not working on his trade. His masterclasses on agave and or single malts is something not be missed as he tells the stories of the families that produce our amazing portfolio of course mixed with colorful humor.
Executive Sales ManagerSummer-Jane Bell is Co Founder of TrophyGold Media which produces cocktail competitions and the photo sharing mobile app TrophyCocktail. Recently elected to the national board of the United States Bartenders’ Guild as General Secretary, she also served as President of the San Francisco chapter. She’s crazy about craft cocktails and adores artisanal spirits which makes sharing the JVS Imports portfolio with her beloved bartending community such a fun job. Teaching seminars at Tales of the Cocktail, Tales on Tour in Edinburgh, Bar Institute, Sacramento Cocktail Week, and the Tampa Bay Repeal Day Conference has brought the rewarding aspect of mentorship to her career. She was also a judge for the American Distilling Institute’s 2017 Craft Spirits Competition.
San Diego Market Manager
Ram is San Diego’s Market Manager for JVS. While he is new to the company he is a stalwart figure in the San Diego bar community. Ram is the founder and owner of Boy Drinks World, San Diego’s own local cocktail bitters company. He also created and produces the annual Bartender’s Battle at Tiki Oasis which showcases southern California’s bartending talent to the global Tiki community. He has been a bartender, a bar consultant, a bar manager, a casino floor supervisor, a project manager, and an Army Infantryman but he has found his home at JVS. When he isn’t showcasing the JVS portfolio Ram can be found riding his skateboard or surfing in the California sunshine.
Sales ManagerTimothy Grimes, originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico has been a resident of Los Angeles, California for the last 10 years. He and his wife Jodee live in Playa Del Rey, CA and he has been part of the Southern California JVS Imports sales team for two years.
Sacramento Market Manager
Drew has been in the spirits industry for 7 years. He has worked with a variety of brands over that time. He joined JVS in December of 2017. He is the most passionate about Rum and Agave.
Sales Representative - Silicon Valley, the Peninsula, lower East Bay and Santa Cruz
Mark is a rum connoisseur, cocktail enthusiast and lover of all things tiki!
Mark’s previous career included over 20 years in high tech in various engineering and management roles. Some of Mark’s cocktail credentials include being the 2nd person to obtain Master status in Smuggler’s Cove’s Rumbustation Society, being the 2nd person to complete Forbidden Island’s Kill Devil list, and, even though he does not live anywhere near Portland, he has completed Hale Pele’s Fire Drinkers list!
Mark is also the founder and inaugural president of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, founder of the annual South San Francisco Bay Area Home Tiki Bar Crawl and host of the annual Tikipalooza weekender in NorCal!
Los Angeles Account Manager
Josh Allen, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, has been living in Los Angeles California since 2003. He spent much of that time behind the stick at various bar programs around the downtown and Hollywood areas before making the transition to the other side of the business. Josh’s experience started with a job at Bock Wine and Spirits in 2014, quickly transitioning to JVS Imports the following year. He has been happily working the LA Metro area, encompassing DTLA west to Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley and Pasadena, for JVS since 2015. Josh and his wife Michelle have two amazing kids; Sienna 7 and Kaleb 4. He likes talking about spirits and arguing about politics
Brand Development Manager
Elijah began his career with JVS in 2017. His passion for whisky is what has propelled him into the industry and his knowledge of other world beer, wine, and spirits has continued to grow since joining JVS. Elijah is striving to develop a strong JVS presence in Orange County, CA. The only thing he loves more than whisky is his beautiful amazing wife and family. He enjoys fishing, nerding out on Star Wars, and traveling to Scotland.
| East Bay Sales Rep
Ryan began his carrier in the food and beverage industry 15 years ago. After serving and bartending to get through school, he discovered his true passion of good food, drink, and company. Going all in, he joined the dark side as a bar manager with a small but growing restaurant group. Ryan helped open a few restaurants and bars in the South Bay Area and grew to love the products JVS offered. Recently he joined the team as the East Bay Market Sales Rep, a natural feeling next step. When not visiting clients, Ryan can be found making cocktails and food for friends and family, hiking with his wife and dog, or vegging out with some good video games.