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Black Rifle Coffee Company founder: People are hungry for a brand that represents them

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
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Evan Hafer, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran and Black Rifle Coffee Company founder and CEO, concedes his brand may not be for everyone, and he is OK with that even as the company eyes a public markets debut. 

"There are a group of people that truly love their country and they are passionate about serving their communities, those are my people. I think there are a lot of places in the United States that represent their values and their connections. To be honest with you, I am not really that concerned. I love this country. I am never ashamed to say that. I love the wide variety of people that have served this country in varying capacities. I love connecting with my customers across the country," said Hafer on Yahoo Finance Live

Black Rifle Coffee — founded in 2014 by the former Green Beret — has been somewhat of a lightening rod for controversy in recent years amid its support of the police and marketing to Trump supporters. The public scrutiny of the brand has masked a good company story. Some 60% of the coffee upstart's workforce are veterans and it has had a solid growth story — one that is coming to the stock market soon. 

The company said Tuesday it would go public by merging with a SPAC backed by Engaged Capital. The deal values Black Rifle at $1.7 billion. About $225 million in cash will go onto Black Rifle's balance sheet after the deal closes in the first quarter of 2022. 

Black Rifle will use the cash to open more retail stores beyond the seven it has now and lay the groundwork for greater distribution at supermarkets and convenience store chains.

According to an investor presentation on its website, Black Rifle plans to hit $430 million in sales by 2023, compared to the $230 million estimates for 2021. The company doesn't expect to be profitable on an operating basis until 2023, when it forecasts $9.2 million in profits. 

For this year, Black Rifle sees a 40.4% year-over-year sales increase to $230 million. The company's operating loss is projected at $7.9 million. 

"This [IPO] has always been a goal, directly related to our mission of hiring 10,000 veterans," Hafer said. “People are hungry in the U.S. for a brand that represents them and their success story.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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