I Am Downtown Boston: James Razsa, Democracy Brewing

Posted July 10, 2017 by Cheryl Fenton in Business
James Razsa

As you’re sipping your frosty craft beer while temps soar into the 90s, the last thing on your mind is next winter. Well, it should be. That’s when Boston gets its first worker-owned brewery (the second in the nation), and you won’t want to miss this addition to DTX’s beer scene.

Serving only beers brewed on-site, Democracy Brewery soft opens at 29 Temple Place in February 2018. Then beer-lovers stand back and watch it all unfold –  light-bodied Worker’s Pints, citrusy Fighting 54ths, full-flavored 1919 Strike Stouts, and seasonal ales including maple spice and tart cranberry.

We met with founder/worker, owner and project manager James Razsa, whose suds savvy blossomed years ago over a pint of craft beer in Santa Cruz. Together with head brewer Jason Taggart, who makes a mean dry Irish stout (Razsa’s favorite), these busy worker bees are creating a buzz in Boston.

TheVoiceofDowntownBoston.com: What can we expect at Democracy?
James: Jason has over 200 recipes, from amazingly citrusy New England IPAs to a light-bodied Saison with hints of cracked pepper. His versatility means you’ll always get something new to try when you stop by.

VOD: You’re going old-school as a traditional public house.
JR: In America, the Public House played a large role in community life. It was where folks got to know their neighbors, experience culture, and pass the hat for someone in need. We want to bring that experience back with communal tables to help folks break the ice. We’ll also host film screenings, live music, art shows, trivia nights, and much more for the community in our event space.

VOD: What exactly is a worker-owned brewery?
JR: After a year, every bartender, dishwasher and cook has the option to purchase a class A share and become an owner, with all the pride and profit that comes with it. Our goal is to have the wait, brew and kitchen staff all equally committed to you having an amazing time and becoming a regular because they own the place. If you have ever had a proud owner wait on you at a restaurant or brewery, you know the difference in enthusiasm and service.

VOD: Why did you choose DTX?
JR: DTX residential population’s growing super fast. We’re hoping to be downtown’s comfortable living room – incredible quality beer and food in a super relaxed atmosphere. With regards to the residents, particularly at the large residences like Millennium Tower, we would like to host events like meet + greets, after-work gatherings, and holiday parties. We want to develop relationships, so they remember we’re always there for them, whether it’s for an event or just to vent about their day.

VOD: You actually help other local business owners through your proceeds.
JR: Twenty-five percent of our profits go to help other folks start worker-owned businesses. We’ll provide them with nuts and bolts business classes and help them build teams to launch start-up worker-owned businesses.  It also means educating business owners who want to sell or retire that there are great benefits to selling your business to your workers.

VOD: From start to finish, you’re a true community company.
JR: Downtown Boston has really become a neighborhood. People don’t just work there, they reside there. It used to just be students because of the number of colleges in the area, but now there are families and young professionals, tourists, and everyone in between. We need the community’s support to get open, but we also want the community to feel like we are their place in every way possible.