A Salt Lake City coffee company emerged Monday as the right wing’s preferred roaster, and it all started because the Keurig coffee machine company pulled its TV ads after Sean Hannity defended the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Roy Moore is accused of having inappropriately touched a 14-year-old girl and pursuing other teens when he was in his 30s. An increasing number of Republicans, including a handful of senators, have asked Moore to drop out of the race.
Keurig was among the companies asking Fox not to air its ads during Hannity’s show. That led some loyal Hannity viewers to literally jettison their single-cup Keurig brewing machines. Hannity quickly shared tweets from viewers who said they were boycotting the company and destroying its household machines.
President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., joined the fray. He heralded Black Rifle Coffee Co., a 3-year-old Salt Lake City-based roaster that openly brands itself as a gun-loving, conservative company, to his 2.2 million Twitter followers.
In his office in a 40,000-foot facility on 500 West, Black Rifle CEO and Army veteran Evan Hafer described what his nearly 90-employee, veteran-led company is all about.
“We’re a controversial coffee company because we’re openly conservative,” said Hafer, whose company roasts about 1 million pounds of coffee each year. “When I say conservative, it’s because of the things that we really believe in. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in family.”
Hafer was nonchalant about the additional attention his company received amid the fallout over Hannity’s advertisers.
“I don’t want my customer to get a year down the road and [learn] that Evan Hafer supports the Second Amendment and have them be f---ing pissed off at me,” Hafer said. “It’s Black Rifle Coffee Company, there’s a f---ing gun in the logo.”
The company creates videos that include employees touting Black Rifle as a company that primarily supports guns and veterans. Selling to “conservative customers” is in the company’s mission statement.
“Instead of worrying about micro-aggressions and what bathroom I’m going to use, I believe that it’s important to support the people that actually serve our country,” says an employee who then jumps onto a side-by-side vehicle propelled in part by a man holding a flamethrower in a video Hannity shared with his followers.
“Omg. I’m so so buying this coffee!!!!!” Hannity wrote.
Hafer said the company is focused on expanding to a point where it can create jobs for veterans and active or former first responders.
“Maybe you serve 12 years and get out, but you don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you want to own your own business,” he said. “If you want to own a coffee shop, I want to be able to provide them that opportunity.”
He said the company is about to finalize a deal with a private equity firm that will help it franchise.
“I want to create more opportunity for people from our subculture to own their own business,” he said. “Franchising is really the only legitimate means that I can see doing that.”
As for his spot in the middle of a quick political feud, Hafer says he doesn’t know anything about the allegations against Moore.
“If you love the United States, if you love the Constitution and you love the American war fighter, I’m the f---ing coffee that you need to be drinking,” he says. “If you don’t, there’s plenty of other options.”