Black Rifle founder and CEO Evan Hafer

 Black Rifle Larz Rasmussen stands with a bag of coffee beans.

Black Rifle Coffee, a premium small-batch, roast-to-order, veteran-owned coffee company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, held a ribbon cutting for its new $6 million Coffee County facility Tuesday, Aug. 22.

The facility is located in the Coffee County Interstate Industrial Park and is planned to employee 52 workers.

“Starting this company one pound at a time and now being able to open a roaster of this capacity in Tennessee is not only a huge win, but represents a win for the community,” said Black Rifle founder and CEO Evan Hafer during the event.

“It represents a love for the product, a love for the customer and a love for the nation. I am opening this roaster, but I’m doing with you, the community. We’re not only serving the customers, but we’re hand in hand with the community,” he said.

General Manager Amanda Higgins said that company was started in 2014. The decision to expand and locate in Manchester comes from 70 percent of the company’s sales come from the east coast.

“We decided on a fulfillment center in Tennessee in Mt. Juliet and started looking in a 60 mile or so radius from there for a place to locate a roasting facility,” she said.

She called Coffee County a perfect fit.

The company has a strong pro-America, pro-Second Amendment marketing plan.

Seventy percent of Black Rifle’s workforce are veterans.

“It’s America’s coffee,” said Higgins, a former fighter jet pilot. “People are very supportive of America. We should support our own and help grow. A business like this really has grown since 2014. (The company is) about having morals and values that we believe in.”

The company has grown rapidly in recent years. Currently there are 16 people employed at the local facility, but the outlook is to reach 52 in the next five years.

“It’s about getting the work done and making the best coffee that we can,” Higgins said.

Part of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of head roaster Lars Rasmussem.

“How they do their coffee is a lot different than how we do ours,” he said.

Black Rifle’s “small” batch artisan method begins with green coffee beans in large burlap bags.

The roaster charges to a certain temperature based on the profile of the coffee being produced. Brazilian and Colombian coffee beans roast from 10 to 13 minutes and are then quenched to arrest the roasting process, before being bagged as whole bean or ground in a huge overhead grinder.

Capacity for the facility is currently about 2,000 pound per hour Rasmusem said.

“There’s an art to how to roast coffee, he said. He noted the biggest run so far has been 14 batches, 460 pounds each.

Black Rifle is available online at www.blackriflecoffee.com or at the small retail shop at the facility, 621 Park Tower Rd.

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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