Our Team

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Jonathan Smolensky

CEO & Executive Sales Manager

Jon operates under the simple motto of: “good drink, good food, and good company.” With a lengthy resume working at some of Vancouver, B.C.’s best bars: Brix and Hawksworth, and not to mention such prestigious certifications as Bar 5-Day Graduate with Distinction, CSS Graduate, and WSET Level 3. He is the founding father of Sovereign Canada and boy are we lucky. As an industry mentor for many across Canada, he’s one of a few responsible for bringing cocktail culture into vogue.

Fun fact about our humble leader: You’d be surprised to know that he once worked for Fox Sports in Denver covering Colorado Avalanche games

Lauren Sosnowsky

General Manager

Hailing from Winnipeg, with an incredibly solid resume, Lauren brings a great many talents to the table. She took on an impressive move to start a new life in Singapore, where she is now working as a senior bartender at ATLAS Bar, recently crowned Asia’s Best Bar by World’s Best 50 .

She is responsible for dotting all the “i’s” and crossing the “ts” for Sovereign. Lauren remains an integral part of the company for ensuring our spirits become listed and available for purchase. As if she weren’t busy enough manning the bar at Atlas, she is also working on getting her Business Degree, plenty more bar certifications and learning Italian.

A little known fact about Lauren is that she is a practicing ballerina.

Deja Gordon

Digital Content & Marketing Strategist

Born and raised in Toronto, Deja oversees many important behind the scenes aspects of Sovereign Canada. From website updates to organizing events, she is a power house!

Her first ever service job was at an Alice Fazooli’s in Woodbridge, Ontario. A crab shack, it was by no means glamorous but it was enough to get her hooked on hospitality. From there, she has worked a broad spectrum in the industry, from the local hole in the wall to the city’s top fine dining establishments. For her, it’s all about the people and relationships she’s been able to build along the way.

Her favorite celebrity customer? The Fonz! aka Henry Winkler – Getting a double thumbs up with his catch phrase: “Ayyyy” was priceless!

Marie Stewart

Logistics & Inventory Operations Manager

OG of ordering and liasing with the BCL, her position is no easy feat! Currently living in New Westminister, British Columbia, she has hung up her serving gloves for the moment, but not before garnering an incredible track record working at some of Vancouver’s finest haunts; Vij’s, Chambar, Royal Dinette and St Lawrence to name but a few. On top of Sovereign, this savy entrepreneur is also the Principal of Ampersand Hospitality Consulting. On her days off, she enjoys calligraphy, taking her two adorable Mastiff dogs, Beef and Bones to the park, and on her nights off? She’s most likely sipping on a Four Horseman.

Julia Diakow

Non-Liquor & Grocery Channel Operations Manager

Julia Diakow, our Non Alcoholics Queen (yas!) deals in the invoicing and ordering of bitters and syrups to bars across the country. Born in Vancouver, she got her start in hospitality at 15, hustling lemonades at then GM Place, still claiming this to be one of the best first gigs possible! She moved on to work behind the bar at Earls, for the Donnelly Group, Cuchillo, Hotel Georgia and Tacofino. She has currently left behind bartending to pursue a career in the Forest industry in Squamish.

Her perfect cocktail? A Margarita made by Amber Bruce of the Keefer Bar

Evan McNeil

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, P.E.I, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Evan is our portfolio manager on the East Coast.Another Earls Alumni, he worked his way up and soon, after sitting at Jenner Cormier’s bar, Noble, he became enthralled with the hospitality scene. With Evan’s care and attention to guests’ needs, he became a solid fixture behind the bar at Lot Six. Today, he is an important fixture in the industry, helping to organize Spirited Sessions and educational seminars for the bar community.

Evan’s go to bar anecdote? – “Don’t have one but give me a couple ounces of Mezcal and an Olands and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Colie Ehrenworth

Content Manager & Ontario, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Our Ontario Portfolio Manager may be a relative newcomer to the hospitality scene but what she lacks in time, she makes up for in sheer talent! Coming onto the scene in 2017 to work behind the bar at Mahjong Bar, she went on to become the Speed Rack Canada 2019 National Champion. With credits to her hospitality mentors; Danny Tait and “Bar Mom” Tess Anne Sawyer, she is a force to be reckoned with in Toronto.

Her future goals include eventually opening up her own bar and reigniting her passion of creating art.

Alan Screaton

Alberta, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Our head of Sales for Alberta, Alan Screaton is no stranger to hospitality as he comes extremely qualified having vast bar training from an array of Australian mentors. When he’s not hitting the road running across Calgary to visit their impressive bars, you can also find him tending bar at the Wednesday Room. Be sure to ask him to make you his favorite cocktail, a Sazerac, with half rations of Armagnac and NY Distilling Ragtime Rye. He’s often making creative cocktail creations of his own on his instagram feed @screatsmart

Shrawan Khanna

Vancouver Island, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Growing up in Ontario and educated at the University in Edmonton, Shrawan now considers himself a true Islander since residing in Victoria for 29 years. His passion for learning and wine has manifested in travelling to many wine regions in France, Italy, Switzerland, India, USA and Brazil and more to come! He has managed to successfully combine his twin passions of education and wine by completing the WSET 3 program, Masters of Champagne, and becoming a certified wine educator for WSET as well as leading seminars for small private groups. You can likely find him on a patio near the water, laughing with friends and enjoying a glass of fine bubbly or a shaken margarita while discussing politics and cooking up a storm.

Johann Lozinski

Saskatchewan, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Born in Guatemala, he has spent most of his life in Saskatchewan including time at the University of Saskatchewan where he was following his original aspirations, to be a Physical Educator; But instead, like so many of us, he caught the beverage and hospitality bug. Here he is nearly 20 years later, still in the industry and he hasn’t looked back.

We are so happy to have Johann now representing the Sovereign Canada portfolio as he has represented many local, national and international beer, spirits and wine brands over the years.

Jacob Sweetapple

Mainland British Columbia, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Jacob has been working in hospitality for over 20 years.

He studied at a highly accredited cocktail school in Sydney while working in some of the city’s most progressive cocktail bars. Eventually relocated to Vancouver in 2008 he was instrumental in helping to establish Canada on the international cocktail circuit. Sweetapple also sits as a judge for the World’s 50 Best Bars.

In 2010 Sweetapple opened the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and developed its cocktail program, following that he was the Bar Manager at Chambar Restaurant and was heavily involved with spirit education in Canada as the Premium Spirits Brand Ambassador and also taught the internationally accredited spirit education course, Maison by Pernod-Ricard.

Manu Ruiz

Quebec, Senior Portfolio Specialist

Born in Barcelona, raised in Montreal, Manu fell in love with the hospitality industry over 13 years ago. From the bottom of the ladder, working his way up from dishwasher to bar manager in one of Canada’s most coveted craft cocktail bars.

From Old Montreal’s dynamically intense scenery to a more polished environment, Manu rocks the bar program at Le Royal Cocktail Bar & Le Rouge Gorge Wine Bar offering his take on hospitality, fun & comfort. From festive nights to a classic dining experience, his motto is to always bring out the “feel good” vibes no matter the drink.

Self-taught, he is always seeking dynamic collaborations between brands and bartenders while preaching a unified & constructive bartending community to keep the “spirit” alive!

Oh yeah, and he also is an aquarist.

Peter Singh-Vigilante

Web Developer

Peter is our web specialist, handling all aspects of the website and digital technologies.

Peter has spent over 15 years in the web and digital marketing industry and specializes in all aspects of web development from PHP programming, WordPress development, Javascript Development, SEO implementation, server management, and much more. Since graduating from the Centre of Arts and Technology, he has picked up many skills in multiple disciplines to become a 1 man army of web development. Before starting his own marketing agency, Vigilante Marketing, Peter was the Senior Developer at Lifeblood Marketing, the CTO and Senior Developer at Hiilite, and the National Distributed Learning Manager and Lead Instructor for the Graphic Design and Web Development programs at CATO.

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