Henry Preiss: Founder & CEO, Preiss Imports

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A specialist in international spirits, Henry Preiss is a well-known pioneer in developing small, premium brands and placing them strategically with distributors in virtually every market in the U.S. Henry founded Preiss Imports in 1987, where he developed particular insight into the needs of suppliers, retailers and customers, as well as a keen perception into commercial trends. His passion for cultivating a portfolio of unique products from around the world has been recognized throughout the industry. He has garnered praise for his distinguished branding, his passion to share the narrative behind every product and his sensitivity to create value for the consumer and supplier alike. In November 2012, Henry and his daughter, Nicole Preiss, founded HPS Epicurean – a third-generation company specializing in the importing and marketing of international spirits and culinary specialties, and dedicated to developing a portfolio that embodies the fusion of culinary arts, spirits and wine. Henry continues to build upon his forty-two-year legacy of providing brand-driven, iconic products to the U.S. marketplace. In 2016, Henry Preiss and HPS Epicurean, reacquired the rights to the name Preiss Imports and Henry (along with his co-founder and daughter, Nicole Preiss) announced the relaunch of the name as part of their spirits division, a name that is synonymous with the Preiss family’s fifty-five-year business of building brands from scratch.

What do you do best?

Connect with suppliers

What makes you the best?

I have an uncanny ability to come across products that become hot items over time. I’m easy to work with and absorb ideas from other well. I’m a bull and I don’t stop until goals are achieved and in the face of failure I walk the tight wire and get across at all costs.

What are your aspirations?

In the 4th company I either have run or owned, I aspire to introducing multiple new brands of specialty spirits that become tomorrow’s trend setters.It is also my greatest aspiration to provide a workplace where people want to work and are able to grow and flourish.

Biggest Success?

The building of the former Preiss Imports, a company at the forefront of the craft spirits and cocktail movement. We were the company that brought products to market that it seemed no one really wanted or cared about and many have gone on to become must have products for stores, bars and restaurants. Buying the AH Hirsch Bourbon Brand which set a new price value standard in American Bourbon. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and Cherries that are in virtually every bar in America. There are many more but of course the greatest success was the company that brought all these great brands to consumers.

Most Challenging Moment?

Having a company fail that took me to zero and the climb back up


Believe in yourself, have passion in what you do and work with people that share your passion and drive.

Favorite People/Role Models?

Leonardo Locassio of Winebow in New York.

Tony Foglio and Keith Greggor of Anchor Distilling and Brewing in SF, CA

Joel Beth and Richard Trachtenberg of Pacific Edge Wines and Spirits in CA 

Favorite Places/Destinations?

On a personal basis its Hawaii  and Greece and on business it’s the globe because in my 42 year career in the alcohol beverage business I have been all over the world and seen so many amazing places

Favorite Products/Objects?

Cars and motorcycles are my personal favorite objects as well as many forms of art.

Current Passions?

Building Preiss Imports and my partner in life