Right Wing Coffee Companies Scramble To Win The Hearts And Cups Of America's Worst People
On Friday, The New York Times ran a profile of the owners of Black Rifle Coffee, a coffee company that has become closely associated with the far right due to fans like accused murderer Kyle Rittenhouse and the Zip Tie Guy from the January 6th insurrection wearing their apparel. This was not a mere accident or a situation like the Proud Boys adopting Fred Perry polos as their official uniform. Over the last several years, Black Rifle Coffee has purposely courted these sorts by adopting right-wing meme culture and positioning themselves as the anti-hipster, pro-gun "Starbucks of the Right." It was a smart move, business-wise, given the fraught history of conservatives and coffee — from smashing Keurigs to the war on insufficiently Christmassy Starbucks holiday cups.
But now, as per the article, they worry it's gone too far and don't like that insurrectionists, murderers, and Nazis are going around wearing their branded merchandise. Though it is unclear who else they thought they were going to be appealing to with gun-themed coffee.
Via New York Times:
"You can't let sections of your customers hijack your brand and say, 'This is who you are,’” [Matt] 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."
While "the Rittenhouse episode" — in which Black Rifle Coffee said they weren't "sponsoring" him, because they didn't want to make money off of a tragedy — led to many on the Right abandoning them, this profile certainly sealed the deal. Across social media, the brand was swiftly denounced by far-right pundits and white nationalists alike, who accused them of grifting the base and then turning their back on them when it became inconvenient.
From a marketing perspective, the company kind of shot themselves in the foot with this one. The fact is, there are more people in this country who believe in the existence of "principled conservatives" and "reasonable Republicans" than there are actual living, breathing human beings in either of those demographics combined. Frankly, the only place they really exist is on television shows written by self-hating liberals.
In the Times article, Black Rifle Coffee co-founder Evan Hafer asked:
How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?
The answer is that they can't, because that is not a demographic that exists. It is purely theoretical.
Ironically, any non-fair trade coffee is about as right-wing as you can get, given that coffee beans are frequently harvested by children and "bonded workers" (aka slaves), so at the end of the day the only thing they're really mad at is not being marketed to the way they'd like.
Still, other brands hoping to corner the far-right market announced their support for Kyle Rittenhouse and the January 6 insurrectionists popped up hoping to woo the freshly abandoned customer base. Brands like "Right Wing Brew." Let's take a look at how they describe their coffee, shall we?
FREEDOM COFFEE, MADE FOR AMERICANS.
Rumored to have been tasted by George Washington himself, our coffee is truly American to the bone. Never miss an opportunity to fill your heart and soul with this tasty experience. Right Wing Brew.
This 12oz bag of whole bean coffee is proudly roasted in Boise Idaho. We're veteran owned and operated.
Warning: This coffee may entice you to love guns, ride eagles, eat steak, vote Republican, stand for the national anthem and care less about Europe. Side effects may also include, taking a deep breath of freedom, craving bacon and being one of two genders.
Oh wow, how incredibly macho.
Noted Seth Rich conspiracy theorist Matt Couch backed "Beard Vet" coffee, which he claimed does not "turn their backs on patriots."
While Ann Coulter repped Three Rivers Coffee, claiming "THESE guys aren't frauds."
In response to the Black Rifle Coffee guys saying that they didn't want to put a picture of St. Michael on their coffee due to the way a picture of the archangel stepping on the neck of a demon has been adopted by white nationalist supporters of Derek Chauvin, another coffee company, Stocking Mill Coffee, announced "We're not just pro-21, we're pro-Saint Michael."
The company was also cited as being "Pro-Kyle Rittenhouse."
Alas, while many of the MAGA types said they were happy to switch to Stock Mill, or had been using it the whole time due to their underlying feeling that Black Rifle was grifting them, others "called them out" for having recently encouraged their followers to get vaccinated and wash their hands.
Who will win the battle for the black hearts of America's worst humans? Only time will tell, although we probably won't notice because who the hell cares what kind of coffee these assholes drink anyway?
Anyway, get yourself yourself a non-Nazified coffee and OPEN THREAD it up.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse