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Buzz wine shop (the first of many?) opens downtown

June 29, 2011 |  3:47 pm

Buzz wine and beer shop, which opened Monday at 5th and Spring streets downtown, is unlike your typical wine shop. There's funky music, graffiti art and employees dressed in gray jumpsuits with the word "geek" printed on them. Wine is only "grape juice that is fermented and nothing more," says owner Scott Kamalski, and there is "no need for stuffiness in a wine shop." 

When you enter the shop, you'll immediately see the cold case featuring domestic craft beers and international brands such as Hitachino from Japan and Delirium from Belgium. You will also find Japanese sake and shochu (a beverage made from distilled barley or other raw ingredients). 

The wine is organized by grape type with signs reading "compelling whites," "other awesome Spanish reds" or "juicy fruits." Buzz claims to have wine from grapes that most people have never heard of, such as the Spanish Hondarrabi Zuri or the Italian Catarratto. At the back of the shop is a glass case that holds rare and expensive bottles. Most are purchased from sustainable small producers with limited production. 

Kamalski saw a need for a downtown wine and beer shop and was determined to fill it. This store is the first in a larger project to start a Buzz chain, with the next outpost to be in West Los Angeles or Santa Monica. The shop is open seven days a week until 2 a.m., offering delivery to residents in the downtown area. Buzz is planning to offer tastings, boutique liquors and beverages by the glass. For now, bottles can also be purchased online. 

460 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-2222, www.buzzwinebeershop.



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Photo Credit: Betty Hallock/ Los Angeles Times