President & Managing Director, Keeper of the Quaich
Sam Filmus is the passionate and approachable president of ImpEx Beverages (an Importer of fine spirits from around the world) and JVS Imports (a California Distribution company). He has done what many of us aspire to in life, take a passion for something and turn it into a career.
While Sam does handle public relations, product selection, sales and marketing, logistics, and social media you will always find him hard at work, happy to do anything for the success of his staff, his customers, and the consumers who love his products… we have even caught him in the warehouse or behind the wheel of a forklift.
Sam received his Whisky Certification from the University of the Highlands and Islands Moray College early on in his career but to him his true education came from the real world and the things he has learned along the way. He was bestowed the honor of being inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich in 2018, a lifetime achievement well respected by many in the industry. Even with this title, you will find Sam to be both humble and willing to share his knowledge with anyone who will listen. He feels that educating people about the unique story behind each brand and the passion of the people involved in creating these wonderful spirits is more important than anything and loves to share this with those he meets whether at a tasting or just walking down the aisle of a store. He is never too busy to answer a question or strike up a conversation with those he meets.
More than two decades of honing his craft have made him a wealth of knowledge but he will tell you that the real honor is meeting so many of the people in this industry he has learned from and shared with.
As ImpEx Beverages Vice President, Chris’ expertise lies not only in whisky as a product and symbol of Scottish culture and heritage, but he has also proven to be gifted in sales, marketing and business operations, from specialty exclusive accounts to large scale region-wide programs. In addition to his role at ImpEx, Chris is Whisky Expert for the United Scottish Society of Southern California, the founder of the Southern California Whiskey Club and he volunteers as the Whisky Curator for the Daily Pint in Santa Monica, LA Weekly’s Whisky Bar of the Year 2013. With 14 years of experience in the spirits industry under his belt, Chris is affectionately known as the Whisky Red Head or Whisky Ginger, and you can find him traveling throughout the West Coast educating retailers, bartenders and consumers about the process of making and drinking fine whisky – ImpEx Brands and beyond.
National Sales Director, Keeper of the Quaich
A true whisky aficionado, Joshua Hatton brings to the table an ability to inspire and get people excited about whisky. Engage Joshua in a conversation about whisky and you’ll instantly see that his love and appreciation for “brown spirits” runs deep, yet is always worn on his sleeve. Though Joshua started his career in whisky as a blogger/reviewer, his desire to instill in others his love and passion for whisky was the driving force and inspiration for founding his own endeavors: Single Cask Nation, a US based independent bottler with a focus on Scotch whisky, One Nation Under Whisky podcast, and the famous Whisky Jewbilee festival which is held in Seattle, New York City, and Chicago. Joshua has toured more than 35 distilleries between both Scotland and the United States and has conducted in excess of 600 whisky tasting events.
Joshua’s sales responsibilities are for Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Illinois. The key to Joshua’s sales initiatives is to infuse his knowledge and passion onto distributors sales personnel, educating the retail and on-premise crew on every level.
District Manager, Mid Atlantic Region
Jared has been in the alcohol industry for 20+ years, spending a decade in retail and wholesale and then joining the ImpEx team.
He started in the Mid Atlantic region which at the time included Delaware, Maryland, and Washington DC. His heartfelt passion and tenacious work ethic helped his territory quickly expand to include Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio.
Jared was a trailblazer in these states as this was ImpEx’s first time doing business in those markets.
Jared has developed quite the following with his fun and informative events, and he continues to do countless classes and seminars all over the Mid Atlantic. Connoisseurs, whisky geeks, and anyone who just wants to learn about whisky and see what the buzz is all about always leave his tastings with digestible knowledge and a smile!
Jared serves the AR, DE, DC, MD, OH, PA, and SC Markets.
Executive Sales Manager
Brian has been involved in the Scotch Whisky Industry for over 20 years. Brian and his family now reside in Chandler Arizona.
Before joining ImpEx, Brian was the National Brand Ambassador for Speyside Distillery and Scott’s Independent Bottling Company. He has been involved in many Scotch Events from Seminars to Whisky Live/Whisky and Barrel Nite (Chicago, Dallas, Pleasanton, New York) to the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. Brian is very passionate about Cigar and Whisky pairings!
Brian loves teaching about and exploring distilleries around the world. Along with many expeditions to Scotland, he has even been to Lark Distillery in Hobart, Tasmania. Having given over 100 seminars on Whisky, Brian loves to spread understanding and a love for the stories behind the spirit!
Brian serves the AK, AZ, CO, MI, NM, NV, and TX Markets.
Southeast Sales Manager
Robert Sickler, a 20 year veteran of the Wine & Spirits industry, spends his days organizing whisky tastings, seminars, and spirited dinners to introduce people to all things whisky. Trained in all aspects of whisky by experts at some of the world’s most famous distilleries, Sickler takes pride in converting new whisky enthusiasts “one dram at a time.”
Before discovering a career in whisky, Sickler worked as an English teacher for 9 years; however, his passion for wine and spirits made him change course. He became a veteran of the wine and spirits world, working as bartender, distributor salesperson, brand ambassador, bar owner, restauranteur, and spirits consultant. 10 years of his spirits career were spent working as a Master of Whisky with global drinks company Diageo, where he developed a reverence for all aspects of the whisky world. In recent years he opened Finn’s Manor, a whisky-centric cocktail bar in Denver, CO, which received numerous accolades for its whisky and cocktail program. In 2021 Sickler decided to return to Florida, starting a new chapter in his home state.
Robert loves to share his passion with the people he meets and his focus on education makes him a great asset no matter what your experience with spirits.
Robert serves the FL, GA, MS, SC, and TN Markets.
Midwestern Regional Sales Manager
Originally from Iowa, and having spent time living in Japan, Melissa now resides in the heart of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. She has a number of years of experience in the spirits industry including time spent distilling and bottling.
Melissa specializes in hosting events, education, and menu creations showcasing the phenomenal spirits of the ImpEx catalogue.
Melissa serves the KS, MN, MO, NE, and WI Markets.
Northwest Sales Manager
Kevin started his career in the beverage industry as a craft cocktail bartender, honing his skills for cocktails and conversation in some of Seattle’s best bars. During his time there he grew to love and appreciate the simplicity of a dram of scotch, perhaps with just a splash of water.
Kevin joined ImpEx in 2020, eager to bring his enthusiasm for Single Malt whiskies and their stories to the people of the Pacific Northwest in a new and exciting way.
Kevin serves the ID, MT, OR, WA, and IL Markets.
Sales & Education Specialist
George has been in the spirits industry for over 14 yrs. With a deep passion for all things distilled, he has a close fondness for whisk(e)y, having grown up in the South.
George has had the joy of teaching for over a decade and judging in some international competitions. He is a lover of history and enjoys talking about spirits over a dram. If you see him in the field, grab him for a drink and a conversation, there is nothing he loves more than helping you find the right spirit for your palate and pocket.
George serves the NJ and NY Markets.
Sales & Education Specialist
Mary joined the ImpEx team in 2022. A 20+ year service industry veteran, Mary loves spirits and creating cocktails, something she loves to share with others.
Mary is very passionate about learning and then educating others, she finds herself at home in front of a crowd and really enjoys the light in people’s eyes as they discover something new or interesting about a spirit type or specific brand.
In her spare time, Mary enjoys spending time with her family and checking out exciting new venues in her home state of IL. If you see her around town, be sure to ask her if there’s a spot she’d recommend and a cocktail you have to try!
Mary serves the IL, IN, WI, and KY Markets
Territory Sales Manager – Texas
Gary joined the ImpEx Team in 2022 after a 35 year journey in the adult beverage industry. Starting as a restaurant manager, he transitioned to wholesale in 1993 before striking out on his own in 2010 starting Clark Liquor Brokerage (representing ImpEx almost from the get-go).
Gary is an enthusiastic spirits educator. He has achieved three certifications from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET): Level 3 Spirits, Level 3 Sake, and Level 2 Wine. He teaches spirits classes at the Texas Wine School. He was the Johnnie Walker Salesman of the Year for Texas in 1998.
Gary took his spirits education to the next level in 2017 with the publication of his first book, the Japanese Whisky Handbook. This book contained 100 tasting notes written by Gary. In 2020 he released the Whiskey Tasting Journal Bourbon & Rye, to help educate people on what flavors to look for in a glass of Bourbon and where those flavors originate. 2023 will see the publication of the Japanese Whisky Handbook 2nd Edition. The new edition contains over 200 tasting notes written by Gary.
Gary was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised in Texas. He can, occasionally, be found in a kilt at tasting events. If you see him around town ask him to share some stories with you or make some recommendations… you won’t be disappointed.
Social Media Consultant
Johnny Baldaray has a degree in Fine Arts and Art History from Cal Poly Pomona. His passion for the whisky industry and love of creative production has led him to a successful consulting practice developing brand awareness via Social Media and video content.
In his spare time, Johnny has founded his own whisky sub-culture brand celebrating pairings, lifestyle, and culture.
His wonderful photographs and his thoughtful artistic eye have an ability to transport you to a different place and time. We feel very lucky to have him as a part of our team.
If you see Johnny around Southern, CA feel free to strike up a conversation about whisky, he’ll be happy to oblige!