Czech School of California

Harvey Imports provides beer and wine for the Czech Gala 2016

Our partner for this year’s beer and wine at the #CzechGala 2016 is Harvey Imports. You will get a chance to taste 4 different flavors:

Lev Lion Pilsener Style – a premium quality, hand crafted full bodied pilsner style lager. Crisp and clean with a nice hoppy finish.
Lev Black Lion – a classic Czech “tmave” (dark) beer with a sweet malty, coffee-like accent.

Wine from Vinné Sklepy Lechovice
Pinot Blanc – Golden straw color with some green tones. Smooth, medium-bodied with good fruit acidity.
St. Laurant – a deep red color with a hint of purple. St. Laurant offers rounded textures and rich, ripe grapey flavors.

If you still don’t have your tickets to the Czech Gala, get them here: and enjoy these unique Czech flavors!

Harvey Imports is a family business importing Czech beer and wine to US. “Our first shipment arrived in 1995 and we have imported millions of bottles since then,” says Milena Harvey, CEO of the company. Read more about her touching story (in her own words – in Czech):

What’s your story – when did you come to US?
In September 1987 I went with my two friends to our cottage located at the Jizera Mountains. We decided to hitchhike on our way home to Prague.
Taz, my now husband, was on his way from Poland to Italy and decided to take a shortcut through Czechoslovakia. In that time Poland was under Solidarity and the was not much food – so Taz asked us to show him some good restaurants in Prague. Taz not only enjoyed the Czech cuisine but he also fell in love with this magical city. When he was leaving, we exchanged our addresses and phone numbers, but what were the chances (in 1987!), that we would meet ever again? 🙂

So, when did you meet again?
We exchanged couple letters and christmas cards when the Velvet revolution came. The feeling of freedom in Prague was just amazing. I immediately wrote Taz how everything changed and that we can travel now – and he invited me to California.

How did you start you own business?
I was studying at the University of Economics in Prague and my thesis was about comparing the rules and terms for starting your own business in Czech and in California. So I decided to test my thesis in real life and I founded Harvey Imports. What more, at that time there was only one Czech beer on the US market, so I wanted change that as well!

How was it to experience the Velvet revolution?
I was studying at the University at that time, so I was right in the middle of everything. We all were smiling at each other and the atmosphere was just amazing! Unforgettable experience. I also got the invitation from Taz to come to California. My mom was very supportive and said: “Go ahead, go and visit California. If the regime is going to change again, this might be your only chance to see the world!” And so I went…

Do your kids speak Czech?
I have two sons – Vitek and Vasek. My husband picked the names, my only wish was to keep them close to my Czech roots. I think he did a great job! 🙂 Both of my boys speak Czech fluently. I would always use Czech at home – we were reading Czech books, fairy tails and singing Czech songs. My husband endlessly supported my decision, because we agreed, that though teaching them Czech we can only help them see new horizons.

Was is difficult to teach them Czech?
In 2002 my friend’s son came to visit us in California for 2 months. He went to local school and he loved it! His English advanced so much, that we decided to keep it a tradition. My sons would come to Czech for an “exchange trip” and her son would come here. We decided to sign up our sons to regular Czech school in Prague, we got the textbooks and started learning Czech language, homeland study and later history and geography relating to Czech republic and Europe. Every year we would come for a month to Czech and boys would complete all the necessary exams. Both of them got also a chance to visit one whole year school in Czech.

Why do you think Czech School and all that we do is important?
Czech school helps kids see new horizons and also helps them understand their roots. They can talk in Czech not only to their Czech friends and family, but also make new friendships with kids, who don’t speak English. They will look at the world a bit differently – they can shape their own opinions with a broad spectrum of information. And every new language, that they will learn, will get just a bit easier, since their brain already know, how to cope with that.

You have been supporting Czech School of California for some time now, what was your motivation?
I have been living in the US for more than 20 years now, but in my heart I am still Czech, so I am happy, to help in any way!

We wanted to thank Milena for her endless support and hope to see you all at the #CzechGala, so you can taste the unique Czech beer and wine, Harvey Imports bring to US.

Milena Harvey

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