New beer store on tap for Echo Park

It should be no surprise that the main business of Eagle Rock’s Colorado Wine Co. is wine.  But owners Jennifer Morgan and John Nugent could not help but notice that sales from their store’s small selection of craft beers were growing much faster than wine at their Colorado Boulevard business.  When an opportunity to lease an Echo Park storefront came up,  the husband-and-wife team decided that craft and micro brews – not wine – was the way to go. In partnership with investors and beer aficionados Andrew Vonah and Jenna Miller-Vonah, the group plans to open the Sunset Beer Co.  in a minimall in the 1400 block of Sunset Boulevard early next year.  The plan is to eventually stock the store and a tasting room with as many as 1,000 bottles of beer, ranging from $2 mini bottles to large, champagne-sized containers fetching $60 and more.  John Nugent, whose own tastes in beer range from German pilsners to Miller,  said Sunset Beer Co. would boast the biggest inventory of craft beers in Los Angeles.

Opening the business is a big step for Nugent and Morgan, whose current beer inventory fills only half a refrigerator at the Colorado Wine Co. The Echo Park store would open as more bars have been pouring craft and specialty beers and, earlier this year, the Eagle Rock Brewery in Glassell Park became the first new brewery to open in the City of Los Angeles in decades. With consumers watching their budgets these days, Nugent said craft beer sales have boomed in part because $10 can buy a large bottle of world-class beer, which is considerably cheaper than a bottle of wine of similar quality.

In addition to hiring staff for Sunset Beet, Nugent said he and his partners are seeking an alcohol license to allow beer tastings. With many Echo Park residents concerned about the growth in the Sunset Boulevard bar scene, and the issuance of beer and wine permits to several restaurants, Nugent is taking no chances and has begun to meet with neighborhood groups to address concerns. He noted that Colorado Wine Co. has not received any complaints regarding its alcohol license and has been a supporter of neighborhood organizations.


  1. Because what Echo Park needs is more booze and drunks.

  2. Adulthood Responsibility

    I think the majority of the people who would appreciate a store like this, though, are most likely more responsible with adult beverages than shoppers frequenting other outlets selling Steel Reserve and Four Loko.

    Just sayin’.

  3. Libertad, they sell enough 24 packs of corona and bud light at the Rite Aid to get all of Echo Park wasted. I don’t think this place will amount to a drop in the bucket in terms of Echo Park’s overall alcohol sales. I’ve been to their Eagle Rock shop and it’s really nice. I’m pretty excited about this.

  4. @Eve-

    There is a difference between rite aids/liquor stores who SELL beer/booze for people to take home and bars/beerjoints that SERVE beer and get people drunk who then stumble around Sunset Blvd. causing problems.

  5. Libertad, this isn’t a sports bar or fratboy-attracting enterprise. I don’t think beer-tastings are going to result in hundreds of rowdy drunks invading your neighborhood.

    I personally welcome this business to our community.

  6. This place is obviously going to sell beer for people to take home, and maybe have beer tastings. Iit says so right in the article. In my neighborhood the rowdy drunks are the ones drinking cans and bottles on the street, so maybe there’s less of a difference between Rite Aid and a bar than you think. In all honesty, I don’t think this place is going to have the negative impact you’re worried about.

  7. @Eve-

    “This place is obviously going to sell beer for people to take home, and maybe have beer tastings. Iit says so right in the article.”

    So you agree that they will SERVE beer – at their beer tastings – and get people drunk on site.

    “In my neighborhood the rowdy drunks are the ones drinking cans and bottles on the street, so maybe there’s less of a difference between Rite Aid and a bar than you think.”

    Drunks both drink in the street AND stumble out of bars drunk.

    Based on what you say it is totally plausible that a drunk would exit a beer tasting and start drinking the beer he bought in the street.

    The difference between a bar and this new place is that a person may get drunk in a bar, but exits empty-handed as bars do not sell beer to go. In this new place a person may get drunk at the tasting and then exit with a bag of brewskis to imbibe on the street. Again, bars do not sell beer to go.

  8. Libertad,
    Folks can get arrested for drinking on the street, so if the police would simply enforce the laws, we would have less problems. Otherwise, just blame the hipsters and white people, like most folks do on this site. But, in my eight years in EP, most of the folks I’ve seen with open containers have not been the type to go to Belgian beer tastings. Get it?

  9. @Libertad
    Hi Libertad. This is John Nugent of Sunset Beer Co. It’s always fair to have concerns about new alcohol establishments opening in your neighborhood. I will say that after almost six years of selling wine/beer/sake to-go and in-house in Eagle Rock from our wine store, Colorado Wine Company, we have never had an issue with our neighbors regarding excess noise or rowdy drunks. And if you’re familliar with Eagle Rock, you know that the residents are VERY involved in land-use issues and the business cooridor is directly butted up against residences without any barrier. I think that if you consider the history of Colorado Wine Company and the specifics of our proposed Craft Beer shop in Echo Park, your fears will be allayed. Please feel free to email me directly — info@cowineco.com.

    Kind Regards,
    John Nugent

  10. Libertad has a point. As everyone knows, alcoholics spend an incredible amount of money for each drink. Every drunk I’ve ever seen wouldn’t be caught dead with anything lower quality than Chimay White. If a store were to open with extremely expensive craft beers, it would put every bargain basement liquor store out of business.

    For the good of our local Mad Dog 20/20 vendors, we must fiercely oppose this top shelf chi-chi outlet.

  11. I think the beers sold here will probably make it so a lot of people won’t be able to shop here – it won’t be a regular liquor store. Plus to get drunk, I imagine one would have to buy at least 2-3 beers and good craft beers start at around $15 a pop.. so I don’t think that’ll be an issue.
    I have to say it’s a welcome addition to this area. I moved from the Westside where we had many shops selling craft beers. Right now, there is really only one place over here where I can pick up a good beer, but even then the selection is limited.

  12. Just when I thought Echo Park couldn’t get any better…

  13. it shocks me that people have issue with something like this or the mohawk brasserie because ‘it will attract drunks’. i really don’t get it. and none of them have been able to come up with a reasonable argument. libertad included. keep trying.

  14. Im excited about this.

  15. Sorry, but drunks are drunks–whether they got that way on Colt 45 or some obscure expensive ale.

    There are a lot of obnoxious drunk people around Sunset in Echo Park on the weekends. I live a block north of Sunset and increasingly on the weekends there are drunk people howling and laughing and idling their BMWs and Audis right in front of my house. Because they are away from home, they don’t seem to realize that they are in a residential neighborhood.

    i say the more successful businesses in Echo Park, the better. But the many patrons who come from neighborhoods outside of Echo Park should behave as they would if they were in their own neighborhoods. I feel like they often treat Echo Park as if it were Westwood and they were frat boys–which is SO lame and works so much against the development of a cool, adult nightlife here.

    When I see people acting like assholes in Echo Park at night on the weekends, (and when they keep me from being able to sleep,) I let them know in no uncertain terms that they are being completely rude in a residential neighborhood—and then I call the cops. If they want to be groovy and tell their westside friends they slummed it in EP last Friday night—they can damn well have some manners. Period.

  16. @Liberdad Really? A bajillion liquor stores around and you are worried that an upscale brewery is going to be inebriate Echo Park?

    I thought I’d heard it all when residents were opposed to that wood-fired pizza joint opening in the vacant theater. if anything, this blog has taught me that Echo Park is where NIMBYs go to die.

  17. @Stephanie-

    OK – at $15. a beer it may lessen the impact.

    For the record, I never said I was opposed to a new business in Echo Park – the more the merrier. I simply hghlighted the fact that the area residents have issues with public drunkenness (as has been noted by buster and has been covered on this blog).

    Now that awareness has been raised my duty has been done as Mr. Nugent is now aware of the concerns.


  18. Move to Utah you will not have a problem with drunks there.

  19. Once again the bully’s don’t want to hear any community concerns. Just disgusting. Lets make Echo Park an entire community of bars one building at a time. That is progress! How dare you try to stop progress? At least the owner of this place is open to concerns instead of getting all his buddies to crowd up the blogs with their comments like the other guy trying to open a 200 seater because he “can”. Bigger has to be better for the neighborhood right? Who cares if people live next door we all gotta eat and get drunk right? Attend your neighborhood council meetings if you want a say, these bullies don’t show up to those meetings they just want to crowd a cool blog like this with negative comments about EVERYTHING they don’t like or agree with.

  20. Bring on the quality beer! Suddenly I thirsty for a well-crafted barley pop. Whenever I read articles on this site I’m continuously amazed by the wealth of negative knee-jerk reactions to business development in a neighborhood that needs every open storefront it can get. Restaurants, bars and even specialty beer shops offer an influx of commerce and improve the overall quality of life in a given area, provided they are not huge corporate developments that pay low wages and take money out of the community. You may not like it, but expansion and recognition of a great place is inevitable if it is indeed great. Call it all a byproduct of super Echo Parking living.

  21. Awesome! I love that our neighborhood is attracting new businesses like this and not just another low-end, cheap liquor store that doesn’t care anything about the neighborhood (or their products!) other than selling cheap booze to anyone that’ll pay for it. Libertad, if you truly are an Echo Park resident, you should be thankful that thoughtful businesses like this and The Mohawk Brasserie think enough of Echo Park to move their businesses into our neighborhood and we should welcome them. I know for one I’d rather see the Sunset Beer Co. than the Del Taco that’s trying to move into the old Pioneer Chicken location. That’s something everyone in the area should have issue with, not a company like this.

  22. you haters who obviously don’t know how to drink should just shut up!
    I’m from Echo Park and I think this is great!
    If you don’t like it..didn’t your momma ever tell you to keep your mouth shut if you had nothing nice to say?..well I am!
    If you don’t like it..don’t visit it.

  23. As a resident of Echo Park and a responsible adult who DOES go out to drink (people are allowed to go out aren’t they?) I am in support of this establishment. I doubt the little club kids who have not learned to control their alcohol will be at tastings of any kind. Like Chris said, not the kind of place people will be stumbling out of drunk.

    @Libertad, you really should think something though before you start protesting. It’s that kind blind generalization that is the real problem in the world. I drink, I’m not a drunk. Also, you don’t speak for all residents of Echo Park so dont say “the residents” have problems with it. I have a bigger problem with my neighbors sitting around with their loud music and 24 packs of cheap beer getting piss drunk and playing loud music.

    Glad this place is opening and I hope Echo Park continues to open new businesses that bring new life it.

  24. Beer shops that sell upscale craft beers with tasting rooms absolutely do not attract riff-raff and are a classy addition to any neighborhood. It’s no different that wine bars w/ tasting rooms. Bottleworks in the upscale neighborhood of Wallingford in Seattle has the same concept. I have never seen drunks stumbling around in that place. Beer tasting as wine tasting is not about getting drunk on large quantities. It’s about sampling the various styles and networking with fellow aficionados. I live north of Sunset of Echo Park Blvd. & am looking forward to having this business in the neighborhood!

  25. John Nugent,

    I applaud your entrepeneur spirit and proactive stance to work with the community. I only implore you to hire locally from the area to ensure that proper jobs benefit all who live and visit Echo Park.


  26. @ Libertad
    I kinda understand your concern regarding the kind of businesses opening up in the neighborhood. You are thinking our community would probably benefit more from a business that is more family oriented like another book store, music shop, or even a decent shoe store. I speak for myself when I say that this particular business does better my neighborhood. I have children and until now I haven’t seen a business open up to cater to them, except for the martial art studio on Sunset Blvd. I hope that in the future this changes.

  27. Just cuz there are Hipsters with money buying expensive beer still doesn’t change the fact that we’ll still be having lots of people driving and walking down Sunset who’ve been drinking once they leave. As far as i’m concerned, there is an arrogant obnoxious air on the sidewalks on Weekend evenings and nights. Words like “classy” “low-end”, “riff-raff” are shabbily veiled racism and classism. At least the “low-end” drunks had better jokes and stories to tell.

  28. YEAH! This is fantastic news!

  29. Could somebody please open craft brewery in east LA please, Pleeeeez. I’ll promote!

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