I am drinking my “Victory Blend” and I’m thinking that you should make a cup of good Irish Coffee. To do this right you need to go to the cupboard and grab that bottle of Leadslinger’s Bourbon. Do a little more than a splash but not quite a shot. If you are feeling adventurous, pour Leadslinger’s NAPALM into your cup. We drink it by the glass here but a little will do for now. After you’re done mixing…I’m going to embark with you a journey that I will suggest to anyone.
Back in January, Jarred asked me to be a part of this blog while we were at the SHOT. If you know Jarred at all, you know he goes 90 miles an hour all the time, he does not have a “granny gear”…in anything that he is a part of, the quintessential, hyperfunctioning fire and forget type of guy. Slowing only occasionally to handle big picture details. He also has people, things and the world pulling him 20 directions at once. In other words, there was absolutely no time for me to talk to him about how the company had grown since I first heard about it. No time to hear the details of the new city, building or team had fallen into place since I last heard about it. No time at all to explain to me the dynamic of BRCC, especially since the rapid growth roughly a month later. Keeping all of that in mind, I decided that I would go to the pirate ships home port and see for myself.
After retiring from the military and law enforcement, I bought a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. My front yard is a Civil War Battlefield and my back yard is a pasture surrounded by a creek and heavy woods. I live there with an incredibly hot nurse, 6 dogs, chickens, ducks, 2 horses, a ridiculous pony and about every species of wildlife and game which habitats to the area. There’s always a catch, though right? You see my incredibly hot nurse, Lorri, spends her work week taking care of people coming out of surgeries and she likes to spend her home week taking care of… Well, her stuff. Namely, the dogs, the ridiculous pony, the horses and finally me. In that order. I tell you all of that so you’ll understand why this is so important. It is my job to make sure that there is plenty of feed, hay, water in stock tanks, etc. before I go. (Rehearsed from years working for the RNC.) I must be especially careful to have it all done as she thinks that I turn into a 16-year-old when I am around JT. Having known JT from over a decade of experience that I do turn into a 16yo with JT. In our a typical fashion, I put my head down…checked off each chore one by one and boarded my plane for Salt Lake City.
The plane ride to SLC was as exciting as it was the typical business Esq trip. On one hand, I was going to visit a group of my closest brothers; a group of dudes who gets me as I get them. I had a laundry list of my own questions and “how the hell does this work” justifications that topped my agenda. Once I walked through the doors there was one person who immediately caught my attention. Contrary to popular belief, no it wasn’t Mat filming a video, or Jarred skateboarding through the halls…regardless of what you think, that shit doesn’t happen [too often] at HQ. She was a lady who kind of makes sure everything just goes the way it’s supposed to. I think she also keeps visitors like me from wandering those who wander…may see things that they shouldn’t…or wish they shouldn’t. I honestly have no idea what her job title is but her name is Leigh. Leigh the Magician. Right here, I must speak about wandering into stupid. Her other half is a bearded wonder who was misinformed about Kansas City’s good bar b que. We know he was misinformed by the way he noted KC’s good bbq instead of KC’s ‘GREAT BBQ’. (We solved that problem with a care package shipped off to them on my return). Leigh the Magician made sure I got in BRC’s local Marriot. Made sure I was picked up at the airport and that I had a ride into work when I arrived. With little to no communication, she had this all arranged. I no sooner deplaned, walked to SLCs exit and I am at BRCC HQ. Miracle worker she is!
The new BRC building is just off the interstate and only about five minutes from downtown where I happened to be staying. I walked into the front door and into a huge room totally taken apart down to the studs. Construction workers are working feverishly and I am wondering if I went to the right place. The construction by the time you read this will be completed and in its place, is a retail space filled with shirts, gear, coffee gadgets and of course a full-service coffee bar. I’ve not seen it in its completion but the plans sounded amazing. The team at BRCC doesn’t mess around. Everything the team lays their hands on is done with great attention to detail and hyper-efficiency, a couple values that between a career in the Military, Law Enforcement and “politics” I truly appreciate…well not so much with politics. After clearing the receptionist, signing some forms and heading through the doorway into the inner sanctum, it is a hive of non-stop motion. People going 110 miles an hour, all with purpose and direction. Stopping here and there but even walking from one place to the next, they’re always getting something done. Leigh appears out of nowhere and escorts me to JT’s office where I find him surrounded with people discussing at once, upcoming videos, a USO tour he just returned from and my arrival. All of this while texting and on his phone and answering emails. Before my bag hits the floor, without a moment’s hesitation, JT is up and we’re on a whirlwind tour of the new building. Saying a quick hello to Evan, Matt and well in all honesty so many people that I didn’t really get their names. We no sooner are back at his office before JT was needed in 20 directions yet again. I saw this as the opportune time to get my wits about me, check into my hotel and get settled for what will be a very busy stay! My next hard time was 9:30 the next morning and we’d get started.
A decent dinner, a great night of sleep and an in-house breakfast at the Marriot found me headed out the front door to the awaiting ride to the office. It was right here that my day took its first bizarre turn. Not often does one see a 350 pound Mr. and Mrs. Superman walking down the street with some sword wielding characters and for good measure a few Star Wars Storm Troopers. My initial thought was that this was more of that Leigh magic I spoke of earlier but that thought had no real time to develop as we pulled into the BRC lot. Once inside, I found myself within the middle of everyone coming, going, problem-solving and laughing. Two things are immediately apparent when you’re at BRC. The first is that literally every person working there works incredibly hard and the second is that everyone loves their jobs. Through this buzz of activity, I managed to get to JT’s office without getting in the way of everyone. But once I arrived, I was told that he was going to be tied up doing filming while the infamous ‘Tank Machine’ was in town.
Throughout the past few months, a small veteran-owned company that started in a garage exploding onto the scene through a meme and a pretty entertaining article. Basically, by saying what every pro 2A, constitutionalist was thinking. The man with a passion for good coffee and an America first attitude is Evan. He is quite an enigma. I think telling you about his past is an entire blog posting or two so let’s just talk about his present. The first thing one notices about him is that he has the appearance of that guy next door. I certainly would not see him as a Tier One operator or as the consummate bad ass that he is. He simply comes across as a good guy, quick to smile and despite everyone needing him right now, always finding a way to make you feel as if you have his undivided attention. If you are really wanting his total attention, ask him about how he came into coffee greatness. Time slows and he speaks as if a scientist on a search for the perfect blend. He tells his trial and error in developing the perfect roast. The background flavors, the way it should smell and taste and how you know it’s perfect. It’s not that he hasn’t found the best blend, I think it’s that he truly loves the search for it. A good guy. Able to make command decisions and build a brand with a vision. It is equally clear that he loves the outdoors. It’d be no surprise to anyone around him if they got a call from him in some Montana mountain range where he had taken coffee to the next level. Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the same passion he has for coffee, he has for the veteran community. Realistically, he probably has that same passion for each and everything that he does.
Mat Best, he too would be an entire book but we don’t have to worry about that because his book (Freedom the Fuck On) is soon to be released. So we’ll just hit the highlights. If you are here reading this then I have no doubt that you already have an idea who Mat is. A former US Army Ranger, he is what ‘Ranger’s Lead the Way’ is all about, but there’s more than his starring role in the movie, Range 15. Much like his movie role and videos, he’s funny. Quick witted. Has a true love for the veteran community and like the others in this building, goes 90 miles an hour, yet the love and passion don’t whither. A quick stop by his office shows that there is a dichotomy to be found in this guy. It [his office] has two defining characteristics that speak to this contrast. His desk, which obviously depicts a work ethic second to none, the biggest bean bag chair I have ever seen and a guitar that is rarely ever outside of one arm’s length. In short, he can go from being the consummate warrior to a brilliant business mind and then right into the laid-back guy that takes the time to meet with everyone and is truly interested in everything they say. He has taken a vested interest to take the time to talk to a friend’s son and have a conversation about his graduation. Ranger, business owner, actor, writer, singer, strong advocate for the veteran community and despite his ever-growing fame, his feet are securely fastened to the earth!
About this time, laughing and commotion in the hall pulls my attention away. I go out to a small gaggle of people who are watching for the first time, Tank Machine’s video pitch come to life. It was within minutes of seeing this video, of seeing him shot from the birth canal and covered in goo that I meet the Content Director of BRCC and my boss, Logan Stark. A former Marine Scout Sniper and Michigan State graduate with a name like ‘Logan Stark’ it wouldn’t be too hard imagining he belonged as much at Comic Con as a Viking with what has been described as a “Majestic beard”. Those are not my words, but I found myself using them as if they were. Like everyone, Logan is often pulled in a million directions at once. From making the video, ‘Black Rifle Coffee makes you a man!’ LINK to planning and keeping track of the content across all BRC media, his job is endless and often overlooked by those sitting at home laughing at such videos. Logan is the epitome of the saying “life is too short to be serious all the time”. Logan is always quick witted and ready to crack a joke on his own, or others expense. It is not often that I am awestruck by someone with decades less “time in service” for lack of other words. While Logan fed me through the proverbial firehose he told me that
“It’s the first time since I’ve been out that I’ve felt like I belonged;”
in response to me asking how he liked working for BRCC. I was utterly speechless. If you want my opinion…I think we may have come upon one of the secrets to hiring veterans in a veteran owned business is such a great business model. They belong together. They’ve already formed the bonds of a team from the minute they walk in the door. Logan hit the nail on the head.
Matt, Jarred, Tank Machine and I get set up in the conference room for the recording of a Drinkin Bro’s podcast. Abbott and Costello or Martin and Lewis, have nothing on the cast of this podcast once someone’s string is pulled. Everything with the podcast is completely off the cuff. Basically what you have is 5 best friends talking about serious, and sometimes not so serious topics; the perspective between them is both enlightening and entertaining. The show itself progresses quickly. Ross Patterson, the Director and one of the actors in Range 15 kicks it off and they take care of their sponsors and then it’s off to the races. On this day, the first topic of discussion is Pizza Hut’s newest marketing tool, the Pie Top tennis shoe. JT’s enamored with its possibilities of feeding the masses at bus stops across America and that provides a seem less (I have no idea how they did it.) transition into a touching and hysterical eulogy for Mat Best delivered in a powerful rendition by Tank Machine. Somehow an hour has passed it what seemed like seconds. Despite not having a microphone, I have little doubt that I am heard laughing to tears in the background. The show has developed an amazing following. If you watched the Army/Navy game, you’ll know just how devoted its fans are. My day at the office, much like the show has seemingly flown by and with that, we’re off to JT’s house.