Very few CEOs can say they spent years — years — of their lives serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even fewer have returned home to launch a company offering a high-quality product that they were fine-tuning on those deployments — and with an unshakable resolve to employ veterans embedded in their business model.
Founder and former Green Beret Evan Hafer launched Black Rifle Coffee Company in 2014, a premium small-batch, roast-to-order coffee available for purchase online, and an operation staffed by more than 50 percent former military service members.
In 2017, BRCC sold over a million pounds of coffee, continued to scale a popular apparel and gear product line, and made the bold pledge to hire 10,000 veterans over the next five years (which entails rolling out a franchise program).
This story alone is inimitable and laudable in its own right.
Yet this company also stands out from the crowd for another reason — their shock and awe, and their irreverent marketing, which takes a satirical approach to showcasing their values.
Nonetheless, their uniquely humorous, edgy branding (i.e., waging guerrilla warfare on the coffee establishment) is merely the side show to their proactive effort to be a responsible, strong steward of the military tribe, championing the unequivocal value veterans bring to America’s culture.
Black Rifle Coffee Company is a frontline leader that should be on your list of most wanted businesses to support in 2018.
Frontline Leader Founder: Evan Hafer
Name of Company: Black Rifle Coffee Company, founded 2014
Location: HQ is in San Antonio, Texas, with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and an additional roasting site outside Nashville, Tennessee
Post 9/11 Service Connection: U.S. Army (Special Forces, Green Beret) and U.S. government
Tours of Duty: Multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, elsewhere
One-sentence tagline and mission statement: Fresh-Roasted Freedom
Marjorie K. Eastman is a U.S. Army veteran. Eastman served 10 years in the Army Reserve, including two combat deployments. She received a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. She is also a 2017 National Independent Publisher Award-winning author of “The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11.” This OpsLens piece is used by permission.