'Yellowstone' Star Cole Hauser Opens Up About Cowboy Culture

cole hauser free rein coffee
Yellowstone Star Cole Hauser Opens UpFree Rein Coffee
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

Cole Hauser needs plenty of energy. The star is getting ready to head back into production for the final episodes of the hit Western drama Yellowstone, but his role as the enigmatic heartthrob Rip Wheeler is far from his only iron in the fire. Among his latest projects is Free Rein Coffee Company, the Texas-based java brand he launched last fall which has quickly garnered a slew of well-caffeinated fans, both for its flavor and for the brand's commitment to doing good.

Today, Free Rein launched its latest initiative, partnering with the platform Squared Away to allow active members of the military to send coffee care packages to a military spouse, with the goal of donating over 1,000 bags of coffee for Mother's Day. For non-military shoppers, those who spend $50 or more between 4/29 and 5/12 will automatically donate a bag of coffee to a military spouse. Click here to find out more about the initiative and all the ways to donate.

Ahead of the initiative's launch, T&C sat down with Hauser to talk coffee, cowboys, and his enduring dedication to military families.

How did you get involved with Free Rein?

Well, initially, good buddy of mine in west Texas, Sheriff Griffin of Midland, Odessa, introduced me to Karl. He said, there's this odd man named Karl Pfluger who would like to talk to you. I was actually doing a charity for combat controllers up there, which are obviously some of the most unbelievable soldiers that our military have. So I got on the phone with Carl. He told me that he bought [Longhorn Coffee Co.] which was out of San Angelo, and he's like, "what's your thoughts on coffee?" And I said, "man, I drink a lot of it."

At the very end of this conversation, I was really excited about it. His family values are kind of in line with mine. He liked what I was doing with veterans over the last 20 years. And then he introduced me to Aron Marquez, which then Paul Anderson and off to the races we went.

Where did you come up with the name and the branding?

I wanted something that was old, and iconic, and wasn't fast paced, even though it's a caffeine company. I wanted to harken back to the old Marlboro, the Miller High Life style, really the Americana that I love. So we spent eight months creating the bags. The name was really a conglomeration of a lot of people. I wanted "free" in it just because I love the idea of freedom. I think it finally came to a cowboy version of freedom is dropping the reins and just getting up and getting after it.

Which Free Rein blend if your favorite?

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffreereincoffee.com%2Fproducts%2Famerican-dirt&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.townandcountrymag.com%2Fleisure%2Farts-and-culture%2Fa60638281%2Fyellowstone-cole-hauser-free-rein-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Free Rein Coffee Co. American Dirt</p><p>freereincoffee.com</p><p>$15.99</p>

Well, obviously American Dirt. I asked the roaster to pretty much "light the bean on fire." So basically he burnt the shit out of it as much as he could. He said, "the next thing is really, the bean just evaporates." And I go, "okay, perfect. Send that." And so he sent it to me and I loved it. It's strong. It gets me moving around in morning.

I have three kids and then when I go to work, and that's usually the only time I get any rest, but I drink coffee before work every day. I'm about 45 minutes from work in Montana. I kind of love that 45 minutes to have a full cup of strong coffee, and get up, and kind of get your eyes moving, and start thinking about the day.

Obviously cowboy culture is a big part of the brand, and a big part of how so many Yellowstone fans have come to love your work. Has that always been a part of your life?

I was born in California, and then my mom moved us to Oregon and I lived on 150 acre ranch with probably a million acres behind that. I used to ride my horse, Cinnamon, all the time. From four to eight years old I was on that horse every day after school. That horse and I were like the best of friends. My mom used to ring the bell for dinner and then wherever I was the horse would take me back. To get off, he'd put his head down and I'd slide down his mane, because he was such a big horse.

Do you have a favorite Western?

I'm a historian of westerns. God, I'd say Red River is one of my favorites. Even Giant. It's not really typically thought of as a Western, but it's about the oil and gas industry in the West. I mean, there's all these different westerns that are out there that are beautiful to me, and they don't have to just be on horseback; it's actually understanding the West.

beth dutton and rip wheeler from yellowstone
Hauser and co-star Kelly Reilly have become fan-favorites as Yellowstone couple Rip and Beth. Paramount

A a portion of all Free Rein sales to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, how did you get involved in helping veterans?

I've been visiting hospitals all over the world really for the last 20 years. So it started with that and just in a small way letting them know that I'm here and I care. I started looking at smaller, kind of boutique charities where I knew where the money was going, and so [I found] Special Operation Warrior Foundation, which I've been on the board of just for now for two years.

As we grow as a company, we're going to start doing more, and more for different organizations and obviously Special Operation Warrior Foundation is one that's near and dear to my heart. I have a lot of friends that are in special operations. [Thanks to Special Operation Warrior Foundation] any special operations soldier, doesn't matter what branch of the military you're in, if you pass away overseas, or even in a training incident, your children's education is taken care, no matter what. There's no ifs, ands, or buts; cradle to college is what we call it. It's all run by ex-generals that have come into the organizations throughout the years. And it's probably the most legitimate, I would say, organization because it's really the military looking after the special ops community.

What gave you such a strong connection to veterans causes?

My grandfather was in Iwo Jima. He was a Marine, a really decorated Marine. And then he came back and got into the [film] business and ended up meeting my grandmother, Betty Warner, and was a producer and writer, he wrote Battle of the Bulge. He was kind of the guy who raised me. When he was passing away, he said, "make sure that you either enlist in the military or help and serve in any way that you can." I obviously got into acting young, and I just thought this is a way that I could do that. When these soldiers come home, they need to be looked after; just as much as protecting our country, let's protect them when they get back to America.

You Might Also Like