A Woman-Owned Brewery and Taproom Comes to Jamaica Plain

Drawdown Brewing Company will open in Egleston Square this month, drastically diversifying Boston’s beer scene.

A woman in faded jeans and a dark collared shirt smiles and leans against a window with Drawdown Brewing branding on it.

Liz Nicol of Drawdown Brewing Company. / Photo by Matthew Morse

In the parlance of professions like civil engineering, a “tiger team” is a supergroup of multidisciplinary experts brought together to solve big problems. Liz Nicol, a career civil engineer, was once in a work meeting, daydreaming about opening her own brewery. As the company leaders named a tiger team to manage whatever project of the day, Nicol filed away the concept. “That’s what I want my brewery to be,” she says: people of multiple backgrounds coming together to enjoy tried-and-true beer styles and a great community experience.

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Diversity is important to Nicol. She identifies with the LGBTQ+ community and zeroed in on Drawdown Brewing Company’s Jamaica Plain location because of its inclusivity. (She and her wife also live in the neighborhood.) Nicol cites a 2021 statistic from the Brewer’s Association that shows less than 3% of American breweries are solely owned by women, and there’s even less LGBTQ+ representation in the industry. She’s used to numbers like that in engineering, too. “For all the women and all the LGBTQ people and all the people of color who also kind of feel excluded from beer, I will be their entry point, their safe space, their welcoming space,” Nicol says. She is the sole proprietor of Drawdown, which was partially funded with a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as a $124,000 Mainvest campaign.

Nicol’s vision—complete with a college sports-style tiger mascot on Drawdown’s signage calling back to the “tiger team” concept—comes together this month when the brewery and taproom opens in Jamaica Plain. The neighborhood spot, situated on the ground floor of a new Washington Street apartment building in Egleston Square, will debut in mid-December and operate Friday through Sunday to start, with hours and offerings ramping up in the new year.

Interior of a brewery, with light wood, black stools, and string lights.

Drawdown Brewing Company. / Courtesy photo

On tap for the opening, there will be a handful of classics, including a crisp, golden cream ale, and a malt-forward, copper-colored altbier, a German style Nicol got to know on a soccer-focused trip to Europe a few years ago. Drawdown will also have a porter and an IPA. “I want to highlight some styles that aren’t necessarily super popular but deserve attention and celebrate the diversity of beer,” says Nicol, who is originally from Indiana and has been homebrewing for 13 years. She will open with non-alcoholic root beer on draft, made in-house using syrup sourced from Wisconsin’s Sprecher Brewing Co., and is working on non-alcoholic seltzer options, too. Beyond beverages, Drawdown will offer light packaged snacks, like chips and Cheez-Its, and encourage patrons seeking more substantial fare to check out delivery and takeout options from nearby restaurants like the empanada-and-sandwich shop PikaloX and the VU, a coffee roaster, bakery, and video rental store.

Light-filled by day with a cozy vibe at night, the Drawdown taproom is designed by RODE Architects and constructed by J.J. Welch Co. It’s accessible to wheelchair users with no stairs to enter, single-stall restrooms, and a portion of the bar at standard-chair height. A few dozen chairs at tables, plus a bar and stools overlooking the five-barrel brewhouse, comprise the seating area, but Nicol intends to eventually upgrade with some comfy leather furniture as well. Next year, Drawdown will also have some outdoor tables on the Washington Street sidewalk. The bar top and counters are made of reclaimed flooring from a basketball court at the University of Wisconsin, which nods to Nicol’s Midwest upbringing and her love of sports.

Interior of a brewery, with black stools at a light wooden bar.

Drawdown Brewing Company. / Courtesy photo

Two TVs mounted above the bar will frequently be tuned to games, and Nicol is excited to eventually host watch parties for fans of World Cup soccer, March Madness basketball, and other marquee events. The taproom is approved by the City of Boston to open at 8 a.m. certain days for Premier League and other international soccer viewing, Nicol says. When there aren’t sports on, she envisions folks gathering for RuPaul’s Drag Race and trivia nights.

Nicol is also hopeful about plans to bring a National Women’s Soccer League team back to Boston, centered at White Stadium, which is just a block or two south of the taproom. “The opportunity to get women’s sports back into Boston is super exciting,” she says, noting she was a regular at Harvard Stadium games when the metro area last had a pro soccer team. “It’s a great opportunity for us, too,” says Nicol, who can’t wait to meet fellow fans. “Let’s hang out and build community.”

Update, Dec. 15, 2023: Open now; keep an eye on social media for days and hours. 3204 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, drawdownbrewing.com.