Conservative coffee company grows business focusing on veterans, police: 'an underserved population'

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Roasted coffee prices haven’t spiked this much since 2012. Wholesale roasters are already trying to manage those increasing costs.

A conservative-themed coffee company is making waves in a competitive industry by catering to a part of America that has long felt ignored. 

Going against the grain of traditional coffee culture, the Black Rifle Coffee Company, based in Salt Lake City, is unabashedly pro-law enforcement and pro-Second Amendment. Among its products are the AK-47 espresso, the "Thin Blue Line" medium roast, and the "Coffee, or Die," among many others.  

Evan Hafer started Black Rifle Coffee Company in 2014.  (Evan Hafer)

Founded by Evan Hafer, who served in Iraq as a Green Beret and a CIA contractor in Afghanistan, the coffee company aims to help thousands of veterans.  

"The main concern I have is with the veterans that have been physically and psychologically injured by the wars," Hafer said in an interview with FOX Business. "I think that as the wars age, they somewhat become forgotten. And it’s kind of my responsibility to my subculture in my veteran community to fund a lot of those initiatives to give back." 

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Hafer told FOX Business the company’s long-term goal is to hire at least 10,000 veterans, part of Hafer’s broader ambitions to do more to help veteran-related causes, including "underemployment" of the veteran community. 

Hafer started roasting coffee from his Salt Lake City garage in 2006. He sold small quantities online before launching the Black Rifle Coffee Company in 2014. 

Evan Hafter served in Iraq as a Green Beret and in Afghanistan as a CIA contractor.  (Evan Hafer)

Fast-forward to 2022, Black Rifle now runs 12 stories across multiple states, including a roasting facility in Tennessee, and plans to open more. It employs around 900 people, boasts a subscription service of around 300,000 members, and even runs its own magazine, "Coffee or Die," which has journalists on the ground in Ukraine covering the war in real-time. 

"(Black Rifle Coffee) is the only coffee company in America, for instance, that has three journalists on the ground in the Ukraine right, which is pretty unheard of because they’re right on the front lines, writing directly for the blog. They’re all special operations veterans."  

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The company also offers apparel, including hats and blankets, and has spearheaded charity initiatives for veterans and veteran-related causes.  

The Black Rifle Coffee Company went public in February and in the past year, its revenues have grown by nearly 35%, according to Hafer. 

A worker wears a face covering while serving a customer in a drive-through lane at a Starbucks Wednesdy, March 9, 2022, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

While other coffee companies like Starbucks have catered to far-left political movements like Black Lives Matter, Black Rifle Coffee Company is unapologetic in its support of law enforcement and the Second Amendment. 

Hafer told FOX Business he received pushback early on in the company’s history from people who said it was appealing to only a small sector of the country and did not have much potential to grow. 

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"I heard we would only (bring in) $10 million annually. I heard that we would only find 5,000 subscribers. I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard it literally thousands of times," Hafer said. 

But the company has managed to grow despite the naysayers, tapping into a segment of the country that has been ignored. 

"I think that’s an underserved population where you can still have love for country and pride in your community and celebrate those who have served. You can do that and build a successful business around that," Hafer said. "I think other (coffee companies) are appealing to a very small market share. A very small obnoxious portion of our country." 

Hafer decried how coffee culture has been defined by a "toxic" combination of influences from coastal elites, tech, and the far-left politics of San Francisco and Seattle, where it was "more socially acceptable to wear a t-shirt with Che Guevara than it was with one of the American flag."  

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"They’re completely disconnected from blue collar Americans who go to work every day around the United States, who turn wrenches and build things for a living," Hafer said. 

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