Our article from BOSTON.COM
There’s a reason why the president met with Harvard professor and the Cambridge Police sergeant over a couple of pints at the historic “beer summit” back in 2009. The agreeable beverage has long been on the table during turbulent times—consider the well-documented history of the colonial tavern, not only as a place to have a beer, but also as the centerpiece of early democracy. Boston was settled in 1630, and by 1633, it had its first pub. The early courts conducted hearings at such establishments, and the Sons of Liberty planned a Revolution over their pints.
Now, two local entrepreneurs are looking at this history as they ferment—er, foment—their own plans for an all-American business. Democracy Brewing is the effort of James Razsa, a beer fan and community organizer, and brewer Jason Taggart. With a newly launched IndieGoGo fundraiser, it is poised to become Boston’s first entirely worker-owned, cooperative brewery. So far, Razsa and Taggart are the only employees, though they have a five-member board of directors signed on.
Democracy Brewing on it is set up so that every employee owns a share of the corporation, and therefore has a vested interest in its success, Razsa explains in a crowdfunding campaign video. (Harpoon became partially employee-owned in 2014, with shareholders selling 48 percent of the company stock to an ESOP, or Employee Owned Stock Program.)
“The people making the decisions are the people that are going to be the people working there every day, that sees any problem that can arise,” Taggart says in the video.
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