James Razsa, Co-founder, CEO
James brings a passion for worker cooperatives and organizing to the team. He hails from Gray, Maine, and has a bachelor’s degree in Community Studies and Economic Justice from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His extensive experience in economic justice organizing includes working for Young Workers United, a workers’ center that educates workers and recent immigrants on their rights as employees; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as both a political organizer and a community organizer; and Jobs with Justice, where he coordinated campaigns that brought together labor, community, faith, student, and immigrant groups. James has also interned for the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, where he documented models of worker ownership and developed recommendations for expansion and funding models, as well as for Equal Exchange, one of the largest worker-owned businesses in the United States. James until recently was the Director of Campaigns for 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future, a community-led climate justice organization. Last but no less important, James has five years experience in the service industry, including work as a barback, dishwasher, bartender, food runner, event staff, and barista, and he has interned with Jason Taggart, Head Brewer of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House.
Jason Taggart, Co-founder, Brewing Director
Jason has been working in the brewing industry for 15 years. He trained for eight years with the Seibel Institute of Technology, a prestigious and internationally recognized brewing academy. For the last eight years, Jason has been honing his craft as a Head Brewer of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House in Cambridge, Massachusetts, continually learning new and traditional brewing techniques and exploring different aspects of the brewing world. As Head Brewer, Jason is in charge of daily operations, recipe formulation, and equipment repairs and maintenance. He provides front-of-house and brewery training to new workers and helps serving staff improve their knowledge of food and beer pairings. Jason has visited family in and around Scotland and England, as well as several other areas of Europe, learning about beer and the rich culture and history that surrounds it. He enjoys sharing this knowledge with colleagues and beer enthusiasts back home in the Boston area. Jason is also involved in several charity organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises funds and awareness for returning veterans, and ALS TDI, the world’s largest non-profit lab working to fight ALS. He is also involved in the Toots for Tufts golf tournament, a charity that helps raise funds for the Tufts neuro-oncology unit.
Ben Waxler, Head Chef
Wax is 14 year veteran of the restaurant business, earning experience at a handful of quality establishments doing pretty much everything - washing dishes, cooking, serving, catering, Cheffing, and managing. After a short-lived second education studying Biomedical Engineering, Wax left Boston University to pursue his passion for cooking at Newbury College, earning a Bachelors Degree in Culinary Management. Over the next six years, he honed his cooking craft at La Morra in Brookline, Ten Tables in JP, and at various fine dining establishments while traveling across the country. Upon returning to Boston, Wax helped open The Haven as Head Chef where he got to design his own menu and kitchen, then was part of the FOH opening team at Trade downtown, then spent a stint at Grass Fed on Centre Street as General Manager.
Wax is excited to bring his passions of delicious, locally-sourced food, fair wages, good working conditions, employee-ownership, and Zero Waste cooking to Democracy Brewing.
Courtney Bolinger - General Manager
Courtney joins the Democracy Brewing team with over two decades of restaurant experience. Most recently, she was Assistant General Manager at Legal Sea Foods, oversaw daily service in the front of house with over 60 employees, and cultivated a group of loyal long-standing customers. Prior to Legal Sea Foods, Courtney was part of the Back Bay Restaurant Group. She managed Joe’s American Bar and Grill Waterfront location over a period of time in which the restaurant repeatedly broke sales records.
Courtney entered the restaurant business at a young age, when her parents opened a cheesesteak restaurant in northeastern Pennsylvania. She learned the ropes of the business during after-school shifts and on breaks while attending college in Boston. She is a 2004 graduate of Emerson College, majoring in Marketing Communications. Courtney is passionate about good food, impromptu dance parties and the Boston restaurant scene.