Hispanic business owner breaking beer barriers

Hispanic Heritage Month

DENVER (KDVR) —The beer at Raices Brewing Company in Denver is just part of the experience owner Jose Beteta hoped to create.  “The beer becomes a vehicle to accomplish the other things,” said Beteta.  

Beteta opened Raices in September of 2019 along with Tamil Maldonado Vega and Martin Vargas. Together, they opened the doors to one of the first Hispanic owned breweries in the city.  

The idea to open Raices sparked when Beteta was researching possible business opportunities. He was struck by an intriguing statistic.  “Out of 8000 breweries in the U.S., less than half of a percent of them are owned by Latinos yet consumption is closer to 18 %,” said Beteta.  

Together his team sought to open a space that would honor and share their culture.  But the idea of running a million-dollar business in America was once only a far-fetched dream.  

Beteta was raised in Costa Rica. His family moved to the U.S. illegally when he was 13 years old.  He recalled one of his family’s first nights in the U.S.  “Spending a night in the same jail cell overnight, terrified not knowing what was going to happen,” said Beteta. What did happen was years of perseverance.  Beteta would go on to graduate from Howard University and would become a U.S. citizens decades after that fateful night.  

Raices, according to Beteta, is a tribute to where they come from. The name itself, Raices, means roots in Spanish.  

His team intentionally infuses Latino flavors, like Guatemalan coffee, into its beer. But the idea goes beyond the beer.  The servers are bilingual and use bilingual menus. The artwork displayed throughout the building are commissioned by local Hispanic artists. The singers and bands on Raice’s roster are Hispanic.  

Even in the pandemic, although on a smaller scale to follow health department rules, Raices holds events centered around issues impacting the Hispanic Community. They also hold celebrations to honor traditions typically celebrated in Hispanic countries.  

Beteta described Raices as a place to feel at home or to learn about someone else’s. He hopes it taps into the next generation of business owners and change makers.  “If we are able to impact young people to be proud of the color of your skin and how you talk and what you look like. If we can accomplish that, at the end of the day you feel better about yourself and you make bigger goals for yourself and that’s exactly what we want,” said Beteta.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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