Photo by Marty Skovlund, Jr./Coffee or Die Magazine.
When a group from Black Rifle Coffee Company’s leadership team took a trip to Guatemala this spring, former Marine and the company editor-in-chief Logan Stark kept the company’s pillars of content in mind through it all: entertain, inform, and inspire.
“We are a bunch of knuckle draggers who took it upon ourselves to travel across the globe in search of fantastic coffees and see what kind of adventures we could have along the way,” Stark told Coffee or Die Magazine in a recent interview.
Stark saw the trip as an opportunity for the friends and co-workers to let their creative juices take hold. “When stuff really starts humming is when we’re in the moment — just a bunch of the core group of guys letting loose, getting some wilderness time in,” he said. That kind of group solitude is how Stark and other members of the creative team came up with the character of Instructor Earl for a viral video on a trip to Idaho in 2018, and they found themselves falling into a similar rhythm in Guatemala.
“There’s this wonderful riffing off each other that develops,” he said. “Then you can take that creativity and work it into a project or a deliverable.”
BRCC runs on that combination of camaraderie, creativity, and entrepreneurship. The trip provided huge dividends for the company, from Stark’s perspective. The team brought back five new coffees to add to the product lineup, as well as generating video content for the company’s CAF Life series. “This was the point from the very beginning, to be able to do these trips and take all these rad individuals with you and then make it actually productive,” Stark said.
Stark was pleased to discover that awareness of Black Rifle Coffee had permeated into Central America. “They love the presence of Black Rifle down there,” he said. “Literally, the first time that we sat down at a place to eat, somebody came up to us and was like, ‘You guys are Black Rifle? Fucking love you guys.’ We kinda just laughed, like, we’re fucking EVERYWHERE.”
The growth of the company’s cultural influence impressed him. “It is very surreal,” he said. “This is spreading like wildfire in a good way.”
During their adventures, Stark enjoyed learning more about a country he had never traveled to before. He saw parallels between Guatemala and other nearby areas that he was more familiar with. “You get this historical perspective when you go to these places that have had civil wars due to communism,” Stark said about his experiences in Central and South America. “Everybody fucking hustles. The roads are completely packed by 5 a.m., everybody’s moving. There’s this beautiful hustle and bustle to the country.”
It reminded Stark of one of the reasons he had initially joined the military years ago. “I want to go to all these crazy places and experience the world and see how other people are living their lives,” he said. “I can draw inspiration from that.”
And it reinforces his patriotism. “Every time I return home, even with everything that’s going on, I’m like, ‘Fuckin’ A, America’s great.’ I wish more people would just leave and then come back and truly understand what they have here.”
In the midst of the social and political unrest of 2020, Stark is still optimistic, especially about the future of BRCC. “I know it seems like shit out there right now, but we’re adding people to the team,” he said. “So put your resume in, let’s go.”
The company continues to grow, and Stark is leading the charge for that growth in its media division. He focuses on the pledge the company has made to hire 10,000 veterans. “It’s a very high responsibility to be able to accomplish something like that,” Stark said solemnly.
But Black Rifle Coffee is making steady and impressive progress toward that goal. “I would say it’s my biggest pride point, that we’ve been able to get amazing individuals on our team,” he said. “We’re in the thick of it right now. It’s super fun.”
No one at BRCC ever rests on their laurels, and Stark is no exception. The commitment to the growth of the company, both physically and creatively, drives him. At the same time, he is proud of the company’s consistency from its very first moments to the present day.
“The cadence that is happening now is just the same as it was back then,” he said. “I think it comes through to the audience — man, those same motherfuckers that started this shit are still running it, and you can tell. That’s mission accomplished for me if that’s the perception, because that’s the way it is. Yes, we’re bringing on talent, but that small group that was here in the beginning is still chugging away.”
Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Committee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay-at-home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!
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