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Black Rifle Coffee Founder Forgets Who Put Him on the Map; Calls Customers 'Racist' and 'Repugnant'
Elizabeth Vaughn 7/18/2021 12:04 PM

 

Photo Credit: Image by Couleur from Pixabay


The Black Rifle Coffee Company was founded in 2014 by three veterans, all of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company's pro-military, pro-police, pro-gun and "anti-hipster" branding has served as a magnet to conservatives whose loyalty has driven sales of their Freedom roast, AK-47 Espresso blend and Murdered Out roast coffees to over $163 million in 2020, nearly twice the revenue from the previous year.

Tag lines used to sell their products are centered around military themes. One blend "will fuel your midnight ops or your morning commute.” Another will “keep your freedom engine running.” It's no wonder the company was endorsed by both President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity in 2017.

“I know who my customer is. I know who I’m trying to serve coffee to. I know who my customer isn’t,” co-founder Evan Hafer told The Wall Street Journal in March. “I don’t need to be everything to all people.”

Apparently, that was then and this is now. In an interview with The New York Times last week, Hafer appeared to have forgotten who put BRCC on the map as he delivered some harsh criticism to some of his customers.



Hafer told the Times of two events that profoundly disturbed him, even though both occurred prior to his far more gentle comments to the WSJ.

The first incident involved Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with killing two people at a Black Lives Matter riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. He wore a BRCC t-shirt in his first public appearance after his release from jail in November. The article points out that Rittenhouse had used a black Smith & Wesson AR-15-style rifle in the shootings which matched the Black Rifle t-shirt.

Hafer responded with the following video in which he distances his company from Rittenhouse.



The second involved one of the Jan. 6 protestors, who was photographed wearing a BRCC hat. According to the Times:


He [Hafer] was alerted to a picture taken by a Getty photographer in the Senate chamber that immediately went viral. The photo showed a masked man vaulting over a banister holding several sets of plastic restraints, an apparent sign that the insurrectionists planned to take lawmakers hostage. The unidentified man, soon dubbed “zip-tie guy,” was dressed in a tactical vest, carried a Taser and wore a baseball hat with an image of an assault rifle silhouetted against an American flag — a design sold by the Black Rifle Coffee Company, of which Hafer is the chief executive. “I was like, Oh, [expletive],” he recalled. “Here we go again.”

...

The coffee company “is much bigger,” Hafer insisted, than “a hat in the [expletive] Capitol.” But the uncomfortable truth remained: that someone like Munchel would have thought to wear the company’s hat to the Capitol was a large part of how Black Rifle had gotten so big in the first place. This was the dilemma in which Black Rifle now found itself. “How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era,” Hafer wondered aloud, “without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?”


Plainly, Hafer took the path of least resistance and what he told the Times' was music to the reporter's ears:


“You can’t let sections of your customers hijack your brand and say, ‘This is who you are,’” Best told me. “It’s like, no, no, we define that.” The Rittenhouse episode may have cost the company thousands of customers, but, Hafer believed, it also allowed Black Rifle to draw a line in the sand. “It’s such a repugnant group of people,” Hafer said. “It’s like the worst of American society, and I got to flush the toilet of some of those people that kind of hijacked portions of the brand.” Then again, what Hafer insisted was a “superclear delineation” was not too clear to everyone, as Munchel’s choice of headgear vividly demonstrated.

“The racism [expletive] really pisses me off,” Hafer said. “I hate racist, Proud Boy-ish people. 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.” If that was the case, I asked, had Black Rifle — which sells a Thin Blue Line coffee — considered changing the name of its Beyond Black coffee, a dark roast it has sold for years, to Beyond Black Lives Matter? Surely that would alienate the racists polluting its customer base.

Hafer began to laugh. “You wouldn’t do that,” I ventured.

“I would never do that,” Hafer replied. “We’re trying to be us.”


Okay, so Hafer hates racists. In fact, they really piss him off. Does he believe that conservatives like racists? Why is he now parroting liberal talking points?

What is Hafer's motivation for these offensive comments? And who exactly is he directing his ire at? The Jan. 6 protestors, those who support them, the Proud Boys, Kyle Rittenhouse supporters, Trump supporters?

Is Hafer insulting large numbers of BRCC's existing customer base to gain favor with liberals? Does he really believe a veteran-owned and operated coffee company will appeal to the left?

Hafer told the WSJ that the sharp rise in 2020 sales was driven by BRCC's "direct-to-consumer and subscription model that appealed to coffee drinkers stuck at home during the pandemic."

Although BRCC's projected 2021 revenue of $240 million is nothing to sneeze at, the conditions that existed during the pandemic are changing and that could have an impact on sales.

The company is now looking to increase their retail presence to fuel future growth. In March, the Journal reported they had a small shop in Salt Lake City, Utah and a larger one in San Antonio, Texas, with two others set to open in the spring.

But meaningful expansion requires serious amounts of capital, the kind that is typically generated by a public offering.

No one can fault BRCC for trying to grow its business, but they really need to make a decision about where they fall on the political spectrum. This is important because the company based its business model on a political ideology and targeted a specific niche.

Hafer himself said, “I know who my customer is. I know who I’m trying to serve coffee to. I know who my customer isn’t. I don’t need to be everything to all people.”

Yet, his remarks to the Times indicate that he is trying to be everything to all people.

And he needs to remember who put him where he is today.

Get woke, go broke? Maybe.


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Elizabeth Vaughn
Elizabeth Vaughn is the founder and editor of The American Crisis. She is a current contributor to The Western Journal and the American Free News Network. And a previous contributor to RedState, Newsmax, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have also appeared on Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, Newsmax, MSN, Hot Air, Twitchy, The Gateway Pundit, Ricochet and other sites. Prior to blogging, Elizabeth was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch and an independent equity trader. She is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother.




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