10 Veteran-Owned Coffee Companies That Should Be on Your Radar

James Flippin Contributor
10 Veteran-Owned Coffee Companies That Should Be on Your Radar

There are a number of veteran-owned coffee companies making products here in the USA, and we’ve highlighted 10 you should know about.

As of 2021, there were around 19 million veterans in the United States, which is less than 10% of the U.S. adult population. Gulf War-era veterans now account for the largest share of that number. The same survey also showed that the share of the U.S. population that has served on active duty is declining. In 1980, 18% of adults were military veterans. In 2018, that number had gone down to 7%.

Number of Veteran-Owned Businesses in the US

There are now 2.52 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States. These companies employ more than 5 million people and generate revenue of 1.14 trillion dollars. Veteran-owned companies make up 9.15% of all U.S. businesses. At the Flag, we’re passionate about supporting veteran-owned businesses and dedicate an entire section of our marketplace to these companies.

Despite the Success, Many Veterans Still Struggle

US Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Marine Corps service members who served on the front lines in the war against terrorism are only the latest group of American war veterans to face homelessness. A precise count is difficult to make, but it is currently estimated that over 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.

Substance abuse and addiction are other problems among veterans. Again, it is hard to gather sound data, as experts rely primarily on self-reporting. It is estimated that one in every ten veterans has been diagnosed with some kind of substance abuse disorder.

We mention these stats for a simple reason: these veterans risked their lives for us overseas, now it’s time we show up for them. That means supporting their businesses and endeavors to keep them off the street and providing them with purpose and a way to support themselves, their families, and their communities.

Top 10 Veteran-Owned Coffee Companies

The companies below source, blend, roast, and ship bags of coffee to customers all over America. If you are a coffee lover or even just a casual coffee drinker, then you should keep the following coffee shops on your radar. Enjoy your next cup of joe or join a coffee club with coffee beans picked, roasted, and sent to you from one of the following companies. Your patronage and support will help these vets and military families.

Black Rifle Coffee Company

This company was founded as a small business in 2014 by former Green Beret Evan Hafer. He started the operation by selling a small volume of Freedom Roast coffee through a friend’s website. The coffee was a hit, and allowed him to build a coffee subscription service that had over 100,000 members as of 2020.

The company sees its mission as importing high-quality coffee beans, personally blending and roasting them, and sending them directly to customers at a low price.

The veteran-owned coffee company gained some notoriety when it pledged to hire 10,000 veterans in response to Starbucks’ pledge to hire 10,000 refugees.

Alpha Coffee

The coffee company was founded on September 11th, 2010 by retired Lt. Col. Carl Churchill, a combat veteran with 21 years of experience as both an enlisted man and an officer, and his wife, and long-term military spouse, Lori Churchill.

In 2016, they established the Alpha Coffee brand and began selling coffee online and through retail stores. In the following year, Alpha Coffee opened its first coffee shop in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, which is unique as many veteran-owned coffee companies restrict their business to ecommerce. You can now stop by and have a cup of coffee in-store. Espresso, Arabica, and many other types and beans are available.

This coffee shop has one of the best mission statements in the business. It is simple and to the point:

Awesome Coffee

Be A Warrior

Have Fun

Give Back

In addition to serving and delivering quality coffee, the Churchills are all about having fun. They are especially big on spending time outdoors in Mother Nature’s gym, as they call it. The fun never dies at Alpha Coffee.

Got Your Six Coffee Co.

The veteran-owned coffee company was founded in 2016. Over the years, it has focused on cultivating a huge range of coffee blends. It offers light roast, dark roast, and medium roast coffee to customers throughout the country.

Their stated mission is to provide their customers and their community with the best cup of coffee that they can draft. They also dedicate proceeds from their business to groups that support veterans, law enforcement, and first responders.

The owners of this coffee company have over 15 years of experience at the controls of a variety of coffee roasters and coffee brands. They believe that roasting coffee is as delicate an art form as crafting beer or developing the palette of a complex wine. It is nearly impossible to find coffee makers who are as dedicated to the art and craft of blending and roasting coffee as they are.

Altruistic Joe

Libby and Jamie Jenks are Chicago natives who married in 2001. Soon after Jamie joined the Coast Guard. The two would spend the next two decades in various military postings.

When Jamie finally retired from the Coast Guard in 2021, he hit upon the idea of opening a coffee company that would be dedicated to not only serving great coffee but also giving back to the community. They have single-origin sourcing which allows them to monitor quality.

The mission statement of the Wyoming-based business is to provide its customers with the best coffee available in the world at a competitive price. It does this by ensuring that each bag of coffee is freshly roasted before it ships.

The company donates 20% of all net proceeds to the highest-rated charitable causes. This is one of the highest donation percentages on this list.

Pale Horse Joe Coffee

Don Wingard and Gray Livingston are the founders and owners of this veteran-owned coffee company. Between them, they have over 50 years of combined service in the U.S. Navy and Air Force. They started the business to share their love of caffeine and roast coffee with others. They sell both small batch and large batch coffee bags

It is best to quote their mission statement directly: “To caffeinate the world!”

One of the fun things about the company is its accessories. They like to play with rather dark themes. There are skull images and plenty of gunplay on the mugs that they sell. It is all meant to be lighthearted and fun.

Freedom Hill Coffee

Past the halfway point, Freedom Hill Coffee is up next as we closely examine America’s veteran-run coffee companies. Founder Scott Thomas was unhappy with his nine-to-five office job, so he decided to turn his passion for delicious coffee into a business. He relocated his family to Antrim County Michigan and launched a business dedicated to delivering premium coffee to his customers.

He makes it his business not only to deliver great coffee but also to assist nonprofit organizations that help veterans.

Freedom Hill Coffee raises money for Freedom Hill Folk School, which is located nearby. The school offers traditional craft classes in a 19th-century barn, the latter of which inspired the company’s logo.

Counter Strike Coffee Company

US Navy Fleet Marine Force Corpsman Brandon Buttery started this company in 2015. He built it up through social media and an aggressive marketing effort that leveraged the veteran community. This immediately got him a nationwide audience, and he now has over 30,000 followers.

It is best to let Brandon speak for himself:

“Counter Strike Coffee is an American Warfighter’s motivated premium, small & medium batch coffee brand actively and aggressively sought after by a growing and inspired community of Freedom and Patriotism loving’, battle-seasoned Americans who appreciate a fine artisan roast but without all of the standard coffee shop hipster and ‘tree-hugger’s panache.’ From day one we have set out to be America’s most Patriotic and Veteran Community Responsible American Coffee brand.”

The company provides animated depictions of each roast. This is something that greatly amuses his customers and provides Counter Strike with a fun way to differentiate itself from other veteran-owned coffee companies.

Invader Coffee

Wes Whitlock founded this veteran-owned coffee company in 2016 in Austin, Texas. Wes has seen a great deal of the world. His travels include Spain, Yemen, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Italy, Netherlands, and Germany. He calls Italy his second home, and it is where he got the idea for Invader Coffee.

Invader Coffee aims to serve high-quality, air-roasted coffee beans that are sourced from fair trade farms that supply whole bean or ground bean coffee.

Some of the best accessories in the business, include a 16 oz Thrasher Pint Glass and a Viking Ship Stein.

Military Java Group

Matt Phillips is the founder and CEO of this company. He started in the coffee business in 1979 and has been involved in it ever since. He has lived and worked in Brazil as a trading manager for one of that country’s largest coffee exporters. He also volunteered to work as a civilian contractor in a logistical support mission that was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The mission of the company is to provide exceptional coffee to its customers and to support and assist those who have served.

Military Java Group has one of the more interesting sourcing stories when it comes to veteran-owned coffee companies. Its beans come from three different places: Brazil, Columbia, and Central America, all of which are intimately known by the founder.

Scars and Stripes Coffee

This company was founded by Oklahomans Chad Watts and Lt. Col. Brad Dean. They wanted to create a company that would create a bond of brotherhood among veterans. Scars and Stripes opened in November of 2018. It has since become one of the largest veteran-only sales forces in the country.

The primary aim of the company is to empower veterans and connect them with other veteran communities across the country.

One of the most fun and interesting things about the company is that it has re-created a military rank structure among its employees.

Conclusion

Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Green Berets—these are some of America’s most elite fighting groups. They are often portrayed in films and television programs. But they are not the only kinds of forces fighting to protect the country. Everyday, veteran-owned coffee companies are providing heroes at home with the boost they need to get through the day.

The truth is that most military veterans do mundane jobs under stressful and dangerous conditions. Many of them suffer from mental health disorders as a result of long and multiple deployments. 

Keep these and other veteran-owned coffee shops in mind the next time you want a bag of freshly roasted beans.