DENVER (KDVR) – The 14th annual Denver Beer Week is kicking off Friday with beer connoisseurs unveiling a first-of-its-kind and largest beer map to date of 48 of Denver’s key breweries.

More than 50 beer connoisseurs toasted the beginning of a week that culminates in the first time since COVID hit that the Great American Beer Festival is in person. At least 48 breweries are on the new beer map and hosting dozens of events leading up to the festival at breweries throughout Denver.

The unveiling event was Sept. 30 at Latino-owned Raices Brewing Company, 2060 W. Colfax Ave., which on Oct. 7 will host a Great American Beer Fiesta celebrating food, beer, and culture, owners said.

Members of the beer community attending included those from Raices and Black Sky Brewery.

Denver Beer Week information and events can be found at denver.org/denver-beer-week/.

Shawnee Adelson, executive director of Colorado Brewers Build said, like all industries, the beer industry did take a hit from COVID’s first year.

“In 2021 our economic impact grew by 20 percent so we are recovering,” Adelson said. Craft brewing still by 2021 brought in more than $2 billion to the state, she said. Other brewery owners were present inviting people to their events this week.

“We celebrate our Latino and Caribbean culture on a daily basis here,” said Jose Beteta, co-owner of Raices, celebrating its three-year anniversary. “… with artisans, food, beer and everything else in between. There will be a tour on Friday and we welcome you back. On Oct. 7 we will have a Great American Beer Fiesta with food, culture and dancing…”

Rachel Benedick, VISIT DENVER executive vice president of sales and services and several local brewers also spoke.

“Denver has been called ‘America’s Best Beer Town’ by CNN and others and is commonly ranked among the top beer cities in the U.S.,” Jen Osieczanek, spokeswoman for VISIT DENVER said in a statement. “In recent years, Denver’s craft brew industry has grown to become the envy of other cities and one of the many unique elements that define Denver as a top tourism destination with more than 100 breweries in the metro area.”

The craft brew industry here generates more than $3.1 billion in economic impact and 450 craft breweries employ more than 17,000, officials said.

This 14th Annual Beer Week, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, is booked up with more than 100 beer related events including beer tastings, beer-paired dinners, brewery tours, brewer competitions, meet-the-brewer nights, tap takeovers and beer street parties with bands, beer and food trucks.