SALT LAKE CITY (CBS News) — Evan Hafer isn’t your typical coffee connoisseur. He’s been roasting his own special blends for over a decade in the most unusual places.
“I was deployed back-and-forth from places like Iraq and Afghanistan at the time … and I couldn’t find a good cup of coffee,” said Hafer. “Most of the time you are restricted to chow hall, or dining facility coffee. It is horrible. As a guy that truly loves coffee I was just looking to find a great solution to what I thought was kind of a problem.”
That solution was Black Rifle Coffee Company. Mat Best, a former Army Ranger who found success with his military clothing line Article 15, helped Hafer create the company.
“He came to my other business partner and said, ‘Hey, do you guys want to do coffee?’ And I said ‘I don’t really know coffee but it sounds like a great idea.'”
To them, selling a great cup of joe meant selling people on the culture of the company itself.
Provocative videos have been their primary marketing tool. Controversial, unconventional and tongue-in-cheek, the videos have racked up millions of clicks.
Black Rifle made headlines when the company pledged to hire 10,000 veterans in response to Starbucks’ promise to hire 10,000 refugees on the heels of the president’s travel ban.
“We are the fastest-growing coffee company in America,” said Hafer. He plans to open 100 stores over the next five years. “Franchise opportunities are where it’s going to happen,” he said.
Black Rifle Coffee has an over 50 percent veteran hiring rate, according to Hafer.
Hafer said typical coffee culture is “a funny mix of pseudo intellectualism and kind of conformity,” with baristas who “look like they should be chopping wood but they don’t have the calluses to prove it.”
“That’s kind of the difference,” Hafer said, laughing. “We’ll make a great cup of coffee and we could also beat you up.”