How Raices Brewing Company honors its roots

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Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate Latinx communities here in Denver and across the country. It's a time when people are encouraged to celebrate and enjoy Latinx culture while experiencing the wonderful foods, drinks, traditions and sense of community the Hispanic culture has to offer.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, it's important the Denver community recognizes the importance of supporting Latinx and Hispanic owned small businesses, not just for one month, but all year round.

Like many in Denver, my business partners and I are all lovers of craft beer, but we were astounded by the lack of Hispanic representation in the craft brew industry here. In 2019, the Boulder-based Brewers Association published that with more than 8,000 craft breweries in the nation, only 2.4% identified as Hispanic or Latino, even though Latinos consume roughly 18% of the craft beer consumption. The U.S. Census reports that in Denver alone, almost 30% of the population is Hispanic or Latinx, making up the second largest population in the area. As craft beer lovers, we saw this as an opportunity to do what we love while bringing our Hispanic heritage to this wonderful industry.

In 2019, we opened Raices Brewing Company and are proud it not only adds diversity to the craft brewing industry, but also introduces Latinx culture into the beer industry in Denver. We picked the word `Raices' as our name because it means `roots' in Spanish, and our brewery highlights our Hispanic roots in more ways than one.

Our beers are inspired by popular Latino flavors, ranging from spices and citrus to mango and coffee flavors. All of our servers and menus are bilingual. The artwork displayed on our walls are from Latin American artists, and the musicians that come to perform are all Hispanic.

We also rotate our food trucks which serve Central and South American cuisine. The Latinx culture is alive in our brewery, and it's one of the reasons why people love coming.

A huge aspect of our business is engaging with our community, which has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. When we were forced to shut down in March of 2020, we of course wanted to keep business operations running, but we also wanted to keep our special community connected and maintain sales. We quickly transitioned our efforts to social media and felt tremendous support from the online community. Our online sales from our website and Facebook Shops supported us through the shutdown, and the community engagement motivated us to keep the community connected. We have been sharing updates, social distancing and safety measures, new beers, and upcoming events all through our Facebook Stories. I frequently go Live on Facebook to discuss important cultural topics and holidays within the Latinx and Hispanic community. We also host Live panels about race relations with Black and Latin American communities in the area, which we encourage anyone to join.

These cultural conversations are such a big part of Raices Brewing Company, so we're glad we've been able to continue offering this to our community virtually. The engagement and support we have received for these virtual events has been humbling, sometimes reaching more than 1,000 viewers.

We consider it a privilege of ours not only to serve the Denver community through the beers we brew, but also in the platform that our brewery has become for celebrating Latinx culture.

Every day we are reminded of how important cultural representation is and we could not have done it without support from the Denver community.

We are proud to be one of the few Latino breweries in the city and we plan to continue promoting the Latino and Hispanic community in every way possible. We encourage everyone to go out and support their local Hispanic owned businesses.

Jose Beteta is the Co-founder and CEO of Raices Brewing Company

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