According to a published report, a coffee company that serves politics by roasting its black is now creating some distance between itself and the customers for which the company once made millions.
A feature in The New York Times Magazine paints top Black Rifle Coffee Company executives saying that some elements of the conservative American political spectrum aren’t anyone the company wants to associate with.
“You can’t let customer segments hijack your brand and say, ‘This is who you are,'” said Mat Best, the company’s executive vice president. “It was like, no, no, we determine that. “
Company CEO Evan Hafer said last year, when the company said it was not an active supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with murder in the shooting of rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin , last year, that was a first because it split. company from customers he was happy to get rid of.
Rittenhouse wore a shirt with the company’s name on it in widely circulated photos.
“It’s a hateful bunch of people,” Hafer said. “It’s like the worst of American society, and I had to flush some of those people’s toilets as part of a misappropriated brand.”
“It’s a bunch of obnoxious people.”
The executives behind @blckriflecoffee, a coffee and lifestyle brand hugely popular with conservatives, has several choice words to describe part of its customer base. https://t.co/BxTpq0kfQY pic.twitter.com/mbdrBSpwGs
– Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) July 16, 2021
Hafer, when talking about elements of his far-right customer base, said racism “really pisses me off”.
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“I hate racists, Proud Boy-ish. Like, I would pay them to leave my customer base. I’m ready to get rid of all those people [expletive] customer database and pay them to get [expletive] out,” he said.
Best notes that the Black Rifle attracts much more attention than is desired or necessary when a man wanted to be involved in the Capitol invasion wears some of its clothing, used in the identification description. of suspect Eric Munschel, called “rope guy. “
“Every brand, name the brand, it was probably there: Walmart jeans, Nike shoes,” he said. “And then it was like a patch of our company. There are a number of terrorist organizations that wear American labels when they behead Americans. Do you think they want to be a part of it? And I don’t draw parallels between the two. I’m simply saying that there are things in business that, as you grow, are completely out of your control,” he said.
“I would never want my brand to be represented that way, shape or form,” says Hafer, “because that’s not me.”
The company is “much bigger”, rather than “a hat in [expletive] Capitol,” Hafer said.
Hafer says he’s building a company serve conservatives which politics is extremely important represents a challenge.
“How do you build a great, irreverent, Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era without diminishing the MAGA movement and not being called [expletive] RINO by the MAGA boys? ” he say.
I wrote a story about Black Rifle Coffee and the sale of the culture wars. Can Black Rifle become the Starbucks of Red America without turning into a distant “tactical caffeine delivery system”? https://t.co/m43tA4D2Qk
– Jason Zengerle (@zengerle) July 14, 2021
The company has brought its affiliation with former President Donald Trump and the Make America Great Again movement a great development. In 2015, it grossed $1 million. By 2019, that number was $82 million, and last year revenue hit $163 million.
One commentator said it was a sign of the times.
“Today there is an imperfect line between politics and culture,” said Steve Callander, professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Companies definitely want to tap into cultural trends, because that’s how you connect with your customers.”
Tom Davin, co-CEO of Black Rifle, says that while detachment from oneself forms some elements of rights, the company has clear vision of its base.
– Ruben Michaels🎸🎶🎤🎹… (@MicaelsRuben) July 17, 2021
“Our customer was driving a duped Ford F-150. Those are ordinary people, above-average income, some have university degrees, some are self-sufficient. Those are people who shop at Walmart rather than Target,” he said.