Although it’s better known for its specialty nostalgic soft drinks, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park has always sold beer. And while Great Britain might be famous for its pubs that serve warm brews, the owner decided that warm beer just isn’t a big seller in Los Angeles.

So in order to stay on top of the wave of enthusiasm for microbrews – and cold ones, at that – John Nese boosted the number of his fridges, going from four doors to 10 so that his customers can find their pick of his 600 brands, including 100 just from Belgium.

“For the past 15 years everyone has known us for our soda pop,” Nese said. “I wanted to be able to say the same for our beer. People always said we had an amazing beer selection but they would have to go elsewhere for cold beer.”

He said it’s time for Galco’s to boost its showcasing of beer, given a new generation that has developed a taste for unusual labels.

“You can’t expect them to remain satisfied with Budweiser,” he said.

The business dates to 1897, but started selling old-timey soft drinks in the mid-1990s. Nese doesn’t want to neglect that aspect of the store, either. He plans to install a soda-making machine so customers can whip up their own drinks. He credits his grandchildren for giving him the idea.

“They told me when they turn 8 they want to be soda-pop makers.”

– Funmi Akinyode

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