Boston, MA - Boston’s newest brewery combines independence with equivalence
Democracy Brewing—which opened its doors this past July 4th—may have been just one in another thousand brewpubs in the greater Boston area if it wasn’t for one thing. It’s entirely worker owned.
“We’re trying to highlight the folks that make Boston a place where positive change is possible,” said Democracy founder James Razsa. “Just because your boss doesn’t pay you enough, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great beer.’”
The cooperative—the first of its kind in Boston—offers employees the opportunity to purchase shares in ownership after one year of work and extremely competitive wages.
"The people making the decisions are the people that are going to be working every day," emplains co-founder and head brewer Jason Taggart. "The ideal look and feeling of Democracy Brewing is the old-time Boston bar. We want it to be warm, comfortable; we want you to stay for a few beers. We will establish that community of people that care about beer, that care about the product that we’re making."
Razsa—an alumni of the US Federation of Workers’ Cooperatives—and Taggart—former head brewer at John Harvard’s Brewery—envision the brewery as a neighborhood space "where folks can really come and build community. We’re gonna do organizing, we’re gonna do things where folks actually get to expand their horizons."
While Democracy currently offers a bareback selection of scratch-brewed beers, they plan to evolve offerings to include a rotating draft of seasonal brews, barrel aged beers and cask brews.
Tap offerings include the Consummate Rioter, a double IPA brewed with citrus hops, the 1919 Strike Stout, a full-bodied oatmeal stout made with roasted malts, and the $5 Worker’s Pint, a light kolsch that may be Democracy’s signature offering.
With a motto of “fermenting rebellion,” Democracy’s menu includes Portuguese fish stew, chorizo stuffed chicken and their singular take on pizza bagels. Head chef Ben Waxler—a veteran of La Morra and the Haven—idealizes the brewery as a zero waste kitchen.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign which netted Rasza and Taggart close to $20,000, the duo switched Democracy’s original location from the increasingly gentrified Andrew Square section of South Boston to its high-stakes Temple Place location one block from Boston Common. But its vision remains simple.
“Looking at it from a corporate perspective, a board is more focused on making money, whereas in our instance with the workers owning the business, we have to focus on making a living wage,” Taggart explained to Boston magazine. “This isn’t something we’re looking to get rich by. With those guidelines, we can look for the right way to do things.”
*Democracy Brewing is located at 35 Temple Place in Boston and is open from 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit democracybrewing.com