The Untold Truth Of Black Rifle Coffee Company

Founded and fueled by military veterans, Black Rifle Coffee Company's slew of premium brews traces their roots to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The company was a dream of Evan Hafer's that began percolating in 2003 behind enemy lines. A former member of the Army and CIA contractor, Hafer has built a coffee company that has found itself on the battlefront of business and in the trenches of today's ongoing culture wars, per The New York Times.

Colloquially known as a conservative coffee company, Black Rifle Coffee Company sticks to its guns (yes, pun intended). "I know who my customer is. I know who I'm trying to serve coffee to. I know who my customer isn't," Hafer told The Wall Street Journal. "I don't need to be everything to all people." 

So, how exactly did Black Rifle Coffee Company become the company that it is today? And what's next for this java purveyor? Read on to learn the untold truth of Black Rifle, a company that supports veterans and brews coffee for the home of the brave.

The start of Black Rifle Coffee Company

Before he was a professional coffee roaster, Evan Hafer was a member of the Army's Green Berets and the CIA. For fun, as noted, "he meticulously roasted his own coffee beans and packed them" during his military career. For over 20 years Hafer served his country, and by the time he returned to civilian life, he was ready to serve coffee.

Typically the province of tech, Hafer founded Black Rifle Coffee Company in his garage in 2014, per Coffee or Die. Coming off the lessons he learned at his failed startup TwistRate, within two years Hafer's garage would be sending out 24,000 coffee orders over the span of a weekend.

Hafer's sales ledger evolved from famine to feast, and amazingly enough, he was fulfilling these gigantic orders from a single one-pound coffee roaster. It was clear that Hafer's coffee fascination was carrying over into the work, and it was clearly catching on.

The company is run by military veterans

In addition to being founded by a veteran, Black Rifle Coffee Company is operated by vets. A majority of Black Rifle Coffee Company's hires served in the military, and that is no accident. Chatting with Vice's Munchies in 2017, Evan Hafer shared that "70 percent" of the employees at that the time were veterans — and they would only continue to hire more.

Black Rifle Coffee Company both supports and celebrates those who have served. Their online company directory features headshots of their top brass, and if you hover over their pictures with your cursor, you'll see myriad shots of armed veterans in the bravest of elements, their profiles of courage visually prominent.

Other profiles within the website feature pictures of employees enjoying the great outdoors and their passions, promoting a support for work-life balance that's almost as indelible as their support for service members.

A public battle with Starbucks

During the politically tumultuous year of 2017 — and in light of President Donald Trump's travel ban — the big coffee kid on the block, Starbucks, vowed to hire 10,000 refugees from those impacted countries. Black Rifle Coffee Company responded with a vow to hire 10,000 veterans. And from that point, things only escalated.

Stemming from a meme that displayed ISIS insurgents with Starbucks cups (via Task & Purpose), Starbucks responded by doubling down on their commitment to those who've served in the US military, reasserting their personal goal to hire 5,000 vets each year. According to a 2019 CNBC interview with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, Starbucks was way ahead of their goals, having brought in 26,000 veterans in just six years.

Even so, BRCC's Evan Hafer wasn't sold on Starbucks' initiative. "[W]hen [Howard] Schultz says he's going to hire 10,000 veterans, that's a publicity stunt," he told Task & Purpose in 2017. "But when I say I'm going to hire 10,000 veterans that's because that's who we are."

Black Rifle Coffee's done well online

The COVID-19 pandemic would fray the social fabric of the world and place challenges upon small brick-and-mortar businesses, but Black Rifle Coffee Company already had robust online logistics. What's more, their sales would improve during the era of rolling lockdowns, with their proceeds shooting up by 30% during the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With their online infrastructure firmly in place, Black Rifle Coffee Company found themselves surprisingly prepared for the unprecedented world of the future. In addition to improving sales they expanded their subscription base. By offering free shipping on all orders, it was the perfect storm in imperfect times.

As they've pivoted to these changes, their online offerings continue to explode. Visiting their site today you'll find more than enough coffee-to-order, ranging from lightly roasted to extra dark. Featuring the same splashy graphics they put on all their swag, promoting support for the military and The Thin Blue Line prominently.

Black Rifle has their very own magazine

Inspired by the "Join or Die" illustration made famous by Benjamin Franklin, Black Rifle Coffee Company started a publication "Coffee or Die" in 2018.

Opening their launch with a letter from the editor, they explained the reasoning behind choosing Franklin for their titular inspiration. According to Coffee or Die, they post a weekly satire column in an attempt to cut through the partisan battleground many of us find ourselves sparring in today, inspired by the Founding Father's work. But the editor notes that it is "not a purely satirical publication," as the magazine seeks to pursue unity in a fractured nation. Publishing stories that seek connection to both sides of the aisle, rooted both in their love for America and their love for coffee. "If anyone reading this has followed my past work, you'll know that I usually take the position that we're all more alike than we'd like to admit, and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle," the editor shares, before promising the magazine "will earn your respect."

They donated coffee to COVID frontline workers

Veterans are not the only ones who have Black Rifle Coffee Company in their corner. The company has shown their support for frontline workers and first responders during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the company announced they planned to donate up to 12,000 bags of coffee to those medical professionals fighting arguably the biggest battles of their careers. What's more, Black Rifle Coffee Company also pitched in when NorthRock Church in San Antonio was giving out free meals to first responders, per the San Antonio Current. For the event, Black Rifle provided coffee drinks and water.

In addition to giving away coffee, BRCC has opened up its wallet in a big way to assist those who've worked through the pandemic. In May 2021, the coffee company shared a press release that stated they would be "donating more than $50k to organizations that support frontline workers."

They rolled out canned iced coffee

Containing 200 milligrams of caffeine per can, and available in either Espresso Cream, or Espresso Mocha, Black Rifle Coffee Company pounced on the market for those with a high caffeine tolerance who were looking for the perfect amount of flavor.

Like most missions, Black Rifle Coffee Company was beyond prepared for the task. As Coffee or Die noted, Co-CEO Tom Davin just so happens to be the guy who "brokered the deal between Pepsi and Starbucks to bring bottled Frappuccino into the retail market." Utilizing this experience with an understanding of their audience, Black Rifle Coffee Company debuted these canned beverages in 2020. Loaded with double the caffeine content of a Frappuccino, both BRCC espresso offerings feature less sugar, and no high-fructose corn syrup.

The cans are also more compact, coming in at 11 ounces. Making this one of the most caffeine-dense drinks available on the market.

They support organizations that help veterans

Black Rifle Coffee Company continues to walk the walk in their continuing support of U.S. military veterans. Per Connecting Vets, in July 2020, Black Rifle Coffee Company issued a $15,000 grant to the HunterSeven Foundation, a nonprofit conducting "medical research exploring the effects of toxic exposure" while serving. The charity is named after Sgt. Major Robert Bowman and his call sign, Hunter-7. He died following toxic exposure to a burn pit in Iraq. "Rob drank coffee 24/7," his wife Coleen Bowman told Connecting Vets. "So he would have loved this and been so humbled by the work done in his honor."

In May 2020, Black Rifle announced that the company would be using various specialty roasts to raise money for different nonprofits, including groups geared toward supporting veterans. Part of the sales generated by a roast called Coffee Saves were "donated to these organizations to help Veterans returning home from the front lines: HunterSeven Foundation and Global War On Terrorism Memorial Foundation."

They gave police officers a BOGO deal on coffee

Galvanized by mounting backlash against law enforcement, the Black Rifle Coffee Company promoted a buy-one-give-one for police officers for a week in the summer of 2019. 

The specific incident that kicked off the campaign occurred on July 4th, 2019. That day, six police officers were asked to leave a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona. According to American Military News, a customer complained that they felt unsafe when the cops were present, and this led to the expulsion of the officers from the store.

Through the instantaneous nature of social media, the Black Rifle Coffee Company responded swiftly — and once again, the company called out the coffee behemoth. Evan Hafer stated his piece on Instagram, echoing his support for law enforcement while accusing Starbucks of pandering to "the worst part of America" and calling the coffee chain "Publicly traded trash." Regarding his choice to call out Starbucks, he told Vox in 2021, "I decided that shouldn't happen in America. That's the genesis."

Donald Trump Jr. is a fan of the coffee

When the Keurig coffee brand pulled their ads from Sean Hannity's nightly show, members of his audience took umbrage at this move. As Business Insider recounted, netizens posted videos of themselves destroying their Keurig coffee makers in both protest and solidarity. Before anyone could say "java," this worked its way up into Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter.

Tweeting at Sean Hannity, Trump Jr. recommended the Black Rifle Coffee Company publicly, referring to the Black Rifle brass as "great guys and great Americans" (via Business Insider). And according to Business Insider, Hannity echoed the support, typing out on Twitter that he would buy some Black Rifle coffee.

They say any press is good press, and with Hannity fans smashing Keurigs as Trump Jr. plugged Black Rifle coffee, it became a win-win for both companies. Keurig's stock exploded through the remainder of 2017, while Americans who disagreed with the ad being pulled picked up a bag of Black Rifle Coffee Company.

They decided to go public

Black Rifle Coffee Company snuck into the billionaire's club in November 2021 when they struck a deal with SilverBox Engaged Merger Corp, according to Reuters. The agreement melded the companies into a beastly valuation of $1.7 billion. This financial maneuver reportedly would net the Black Rifle Coffee Company $545 million in capital for investment. The merger is set to be official at some point in early 2022, and once the ink is dry on the deal, they will be Black Rifle Coffee Inc.

"[SBEA is] completely in support of our mission and they've aligned their financial interests with our Company's performance," Black Rifle Coffee Company founder Evan Hafer said in a press release. "This combination will provide the capital BRCC needs to grow, serve great coffee, and move us closer to our goal of hiring 10,000 Veterans as we open more stores nationwide."

The founder denounced extremists

The Black Rifle Coffee Company may lean conservative, but the founder does not align with certain subsets of the right. In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Evan Hafer took a stance against bigotry and called out extremists. "I hate racist, Proud Boy-ish people," he told the outlet. "Like, I'll pay them to leave my customer base. I would gladly chop all of those people out of my [expletive] customer database and pay them to get the [expletive] out."

Hafer's remarks didn't sit well with some consumers. As Salon noted, many aired their grievances on Twitter, announcing boycotts of their own. In a statement obtained by, a company spokesperson shared that employees also received threats following the interview. "Anything associated with any of these extremist groups, that's just not who we are," the spokesperson said.

Hafer took to Instagram to address the interview and attempt to clear up any misconceptions regarding where he stands. "I'm a conservative," he reminded followers. "There was never a derogatory statement put out towards conservative aspects of our country. It was towards racism and antisemitism."