It’s been two years since Denverite first spoke with Jose Beteta about the brewery he envisioned that would provide Denver with more craft beverages and, importantly, provide the local beer industry with a little more diversity. Raices Brewing Co., which he now operates with his wife, Tamil Maldonado, finally opened in Sun Valley earlier this month.
The idea behind Raices was to create an authentic space that represented Central and South American cultures in a gentrifying city and a business environment dominated by white proprietors. The couple kicked off the season, before the brewery officially opened, with Suave Fest, a celebration of local Latinx and indigenous brewers.
They’ve hosted hundreds of customers, a handful of private events and a wedding so far. Beteta said they’ve welcomed musicians in the last couple of weeks, and they plan to expand the kinds of entertainment they’ll offer. He’s also hoping to usher in soccer fans looking for somewhere to go since the Three Lions Pub closed in January. He said the closure left a “hole” in the city’s futból scene that Raices is looking to fill. They’ve already purchased the video package they’ll need to show the Premier and European Leagues.
But Maldonado said sports is just one component of their vision.
“Some of our audience, yes, they like sports. That’s not the only area that people are interested about in our culture,” she said. “It’s anything that brings people together. Music, food and just enjoying conversation.”
In the bustling taproom over the weekend, Maldonado made it clear this is a space for everyone. But she said she and her business partners felt people from South American cultures needed a place like this in the city. Three weeks into operations, she said the customers walking through their doors have proved they were right.
One was Astrid Ruiz, a Columbian who’s also lived in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
“Were really fortunate to have this,” she said. “It’s just real. It’s authentic.”
One thing that Ruiz said will bring her back is the music, like the Ecuadorian singer who performed Saturday night. It’s something she missed about home — not just hearing familiar notes, but hearing it in public, surrounded by other people. Looking at her two young sons, Ruiz said she’s glad there’s a place in Denver to immerse her kids in their culture.
Expect Raices to be in the neighborhood for a while. Beteta said they’ve got a 10-year lease, and it’s at a rate they can handle as they grow their business and offerings.
“The saving grace that we had with this place is that we got in here early,” he said. “I think we lucked out on a pretty good rate.”
It will give him and Maldonado the time they need to bring in more beer, more food, more futból, more music and more Denverites looking for an authentic, multicultural experience.