Category Archives: Bourbon

BOURBON – MY BUSINESS

2016-tshirt

I have spent the last 4 days in Kentucky, making the loop from Louisville, down to Loretto and over to Lexington. The area known as the Bourbon Trail. For a person who loves bourbon as much as I do, this is my Disney World. I’ve toured 11 distilleries while I’ve been here.

As much fun as it has been (I did get the cool t-shirt pictured above for visiting all of the distilleries on the Trail), I’ve also come to realize this is my business while I’ve been here. I am sure a couple of tour guides thought here is another disengaged guy going through the motions in life as I had my iPhone out typing away while they were talking during a tour. I wasn’t texting, or playing Pokemon Go, I was taking notes. What I was taking in while I was there is going to help tremendously with Bourbon Zeppelin and two bourbon-themed books I am working on.

I’m in my Louisville hotel now, preparing to head home, but I’m already planning my next trip. There is more I want to see, do and learn. Some of that education will come from going back to some of the places I went to over the past several days. Still more will come from new places I visit. With a multiple bourbon books in the works, a bourbon eMagazine and a bourbon podcast, I will probably want to set up some interviews with key individuals the next time I come as well.

Yep, the Bourbon Trail is going to be my new “home away from home.” That sounds pretty good to me…

After all, bourbon is my business!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: More random thoughts on my writing career.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

ABV Network/A Podcast Channel for Alcohol-Themed Podcastsabvnetwork.com

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

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HUUUUUUUGE BOURBON ZEPPELIN DAY

Recently in this blog we’ve been tracking the 10 greatest things that happened to me since I started writing, we’re taking a one week break to cover some breaking news..

On Friday, July 1, at 6:00 a.m. central time, I launched the second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin.  For anyone not familiar, BZ is my “magazine of newsletters” that is written for bourbon fans by bourbon fans with the following photo announcing it on social media and the tagline, “The second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin is bananas:”

BZ Bananas

Luckily, I had taken the day off of work to extend the holiday weekend. In following a “bananas theme” my world pretty much went ape ______!

Immediately, people started reaching out saying how great the issue was. My buddy Evan Haskill made a comment about Instagram being all about Bourbon Zeppelin at one point. It sure seemed that way. I literally couldn’t keep up with all of the posts that were going on about it.

I had people from various bourbon distilleries/bourbon-related products say they would send items for future consideration. The coolest one was Glencairn Glass (the preferred bourbon tasting glasses). They are actually carrying my Bourbon Zeppelin glass on their site now. Check it out:

Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn GlassYou can see it on Glencairn’s site by clicking here.

One of the coolest things was a short note from my buddy Jenna Brownson. She’s not a bourbon drinker, but she said she enjoyed the issue, in particular my “special report” on the bourbon secondary market. It was just cool to hear someone from outside of the bourbon crew to like what we are doing.

Speaking of Jenna. She loves numbers. Well, when it comes to BZ, I love them as well. My Associate Editor for BZ is a funny, yet serious when it comes to business, gent named Hasse Berg. Together, we live and die by these numbers.

Here’s some cool stats. Our Facebook likes doubled after BZ was published (It was a small base, but cool nonetheless). Our first issue had been published on June 1. It took from June 1 – June 29 to get the number of readers we had in second issue in just two days. Our database of email addresses has doubled in size from June 1 – July 1 all based on people signing up on their own to received BZ emailed directly to them. We had over 100 people on the day issue 2 was released go back and read issue 1.

How about all of that?

Perhaps best of all, we’re being taken seriously in the distilled spirits world. Some of the largest bourbon distillers in the U.S. have us on their P.R. lists. Our reviews are already appearing on the web. Check out this example from Cadee Distillery:

Cadee

I knew we had a fantastic thing going with Bourbon Zeppelin. I had no idea the rest of the world would find out about it so quickly.

PLEASE CHECK OUT BOURBON ZEPPELIN IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY. YOU CAN READ THE LATEST ISSUE BY CLICKING HERE!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series next week!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 2/10

Welcome to the second of my ten-part series where I’m writing about the coolest things that have happened to me because I write. Last week we covered my O.P.U.S. interview blog and this we we’re talking about this:

BZ Launch

That’s right, earlier this week I finally launched Bourbon Zeppelin the newsletter “written by bourbon fans, for bourbon fans.” This is a project that took me seven months of pretty hard work, careful planning a lot of coordinating and a ton of support to get going.

This “the magazine of newsletters” as I’ve called it based on its voluminous content represent the culmination of a lifelong dream. I’ve always wanted to publish a magazine. I loved the idea of the freeform content a magazine brings. It has some focus, but anything that ties into that loose-knit topic is fair game. Your favorite items you simply make “regular columns” and you bring that stuff back as often as you like.  Coverage can vary from quick tidbits to in-depth feature articles.

I always imagined fun group with a lot of think tanks each contributing to make the publication as a whole better.

I have to say it’s early yet, but I think I’ve found it with BZ. I have this incredible group of writers and bourbon enthusiasts who want to make this thing better just because they are passionate about it. In some cases, equally as passionate as I am. I’m also liking how people have their own columns and they are taking ownership of them to make them as good as they possibly can.

I’ve got an online shared spreadsheet that’s kind of like our meeting room where assignments are made and we keep track of where everyone is at. With the first issue going out earlier this week I am fully immersed in issue number two and also adding some content to issue number three. I have topics and topics lined out for monthly issues through the end of the year. Basically, I have to say, this is pretty darn close to running an actual magazine. It certainly replicates how I always envisioned it would be.

You would think it’s all been sunshine and lollipops based on what I’ve just told you. I have to say 99% of it actually has. The only rough moment came at 7:02 a.m. central time on June 1st. I was driving in to work and my phone pinged that I had an email. I looked down and the Zeppelin had come in.

You would think this is the greatest moment ever, right? I mean it’s a lifelong dream finally realized.

Nope.

I think I had some sort of panic attack. I mean I became so nervous and stressed out. It just became real at that moment. All of the other people who had worked so hard based on a vision I had shared with them would now see. Friends, family, co-workers would be reading it. Over 40,000 of my social media followers would have access to this content I had orchestrated. Companies across the United States had sent in samples to try, products to test for the newsletter I had created.

Would they like it? That’s what it all came down to… would people like it?

I mean, I’m not a professional magazine/newsletter publisher. I’m just a passionate fan who wanted to basically deliver a publication I would want to read.

Over the course of the next few days the response has blown my mind. I’ve gotten the nicest emails from friends. Strangers have reached out to me on social media to tell me how much they like BZ and can’t wait to see more. The P.R. people from the companies featured were thrilled with the professionalism in which we covered their products. New companies not involved in BZ for the first issue have inquired about having us take a look at their products for future issues. One of the columnists said someone randomly reached out to him on social media after his article appeared in our first issue since they live in the same town.

All-in-all, it’s been overwhelming. More than I could have imagined.

Maybe best of all, I found a quarter on the garage floor near the front of my car the day it was published. That probably seems silly to you, but my dad, who passed away in 2012, collected coins and the coincidence of us finding coins during big moments has been amazing. At events we know he would never miss we simply find these random coins in places where they really shouldn’t be. I can’t say I believe in this stuff… nor do I disbelieve. I’m fine just letting it happen.

It have to say, it felt pretty damn good bending over and picking up a quarter on that big day. Twenty-five cents. Someone must have been really pleased with BZ!

Click here to read the first issue of Bourbon Zeppelin!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series next week!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

BIG B.Z. DAY

BZ Promotion Card May 1 2016

Even though technically nothing is happening with my Bourbon Zeppelin newsletter today, it’s still a big day for the project because it’s now one month until launch. It’s also the first time I will be reaching out to the 200+ industry insiders to find out if they have any content they want to share for the inaugural issue.

It’s like the project is finally coming together into something real. Talking about a concept without a tangible project is difficult. I have the vision of exactly what it is, and perhaps I should have created a full blown prototype to show people what I was doing, but I’ve elected to skip that part of the process and just talk about the plan. I believe once I have this first edition published it’s going to be much easier to get even more industry insiders involved.

“Getting people involved” on the production side of the project has been fantastic. I’ve got a crew together which should really be able to put out an interesting read. Take a look at these contributors and what they will be doing with Bourbon Zeppelin:

Mark Hansen – My buddy Mark Hansen is a graphic artist who designs all of my covers. We literally grew up together, living in the same St. Louis suburb. He gives B.Z. its identity with his custom graphics he draws for me (that’s his work in the black and white graphic above). Mark’s also one of those guys who has the ability to really break down a flavor profile by pulling out the unique tastes to it. With his skills he’s going to be doing reviews in each issue with a column titled The Bourbon Whisperer.

Amanda Hoppes – Amanda is a fellow author who will be joining the crew under the name the Bourbon Virgin to give her thoughts on tasting different bourbons for the first time. Amanda has a fun take on her reviews and is looking to expand her horizons beyond the Bud Light and Cherry Bombs she has been drinking up to this point.

Kris and Kate Kettner – Kris and Kate are a husband and wife team who run their own blog (check out: barrelsandmash.com). They are complete bourbon enthusiasts who will be answering questions asked by B.Z. readers. This questions could be anything bourbon related and they will bring a fun take to their responses I am sure.

Sarah Mitchell-Jackson (Sarah’s blog), Suzie Allkins (Suzie’s author’s page) & Lauren Elizabeth – Sarah (England), Suzie (England) and Lauren (Australia) bring an international component to B.Z. None happen to be bourbon fans but they have been able to provide some unique insight about bourbon in their respective countries.

Jerome Faulkner, G, The Bearded Sipper, Evan Haskill (Evan’s blog), Mike Swain, Carl “Los” Laehr, The Shy Associate Editor, Melissa Alexander, Alice Seim & Robin Ricca – These folks round out the contributors on the staff who will be making contributions to help make B.Z. great.

Hasse Berg (Hasse’s blog) – Finally, there’s Hasse Berg. Hasse just joined the crew recently but I’m not sure how I made it as far as I did without him. Hasse is a blogger from Denmark who writes about whiskey. He’s part of the Instagram crew I burn far too much time interacting with online.

Hasse combines three things you don’t often see packaged together…

1). He’s a hellion.

2). He’s a genius.

3). He’s hilarious.

Because he’s a genius, who is hilarious, with a background in “hellionusness” (I made that word up) he’s able to put his thoughts together in the most unique and funny ways (it truly is amazing he does all of this writing in English when his primary language is Danish…again, genius). Anyway, Hasse is going to close out every issue with Hasse Berg’s World… a stream of consciousness piece from the mind of Hasse Berg. It caps each issue with some funny thoughts which I think is going to be great.

As you can see, I’ve got an awesome crew that is going to help me put together an unbelievably great bourbon-focused publication.

Set your alarms for June 1…8:00 a.m. Eastern time/7:00 Central for issue #1 of Bourbon Zeppelin!

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: I don’t know what I’ll be talking about on here next week, but something will come up I am sure.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

 

BOURBON MIXOLOGY: BREAKOUT STAR

 

Bourbon Mixology Ranked #5

Bourbon Mixology – A top five ranked book when searching for bourbon under books on Amazon (top 10 on the overall site with a bourbon search)

This holiday season has been great for me. In fact, I’ve picked up a new title… “Best Selling Author.”

That’s right, after almost three years of writing and publishing, I’ve got a real winner on my hands with my book: Bourbon Mixology: 50 Bourbon Cocktails from 50 Iconic Bars.

As an author, your books are like your children: you love all of them equally. I don’t write something thinking this one will be just okay, but the next one is going to be the big hit. Ultimately, it’s not the author who decides what’s a hit, it’s you, the reader.

This book must have been the perfect storm:

  • It covers a hot topic with bourbon.
  • It incorporates cool locations with the 50 bars.
  • It has the signature bourbon cocktail from these iconic bars.
  • It’s a great price point at under $10.

I think all of these things came together to make it the perfect holiday gift giving item for the whiskey fan.

Being an author is awesome. You get to create books which start as ideas in your head.

I have to say, though, being a bestselling author who creates books which came from ideas in your head is even better!

HANDS-ON PROJECT

I recently published one of the chapters from my book Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition as a stand-alone 99 cent eBook. Not only is my Ozark Distillery  chapter republished, the new eBook also contains bonus material and photos not included in the book.

When I notified Dave Huffman, the owner of Ozark Distillery this mini book was now available, he wanted me to put together a small book on his company he could sell in his gift shop and give to some friends and family. In order to accomplish this, I would need to spend a few days at his facility (located less than 3 hours from my home base in St. Louis) watching and helping him make bourbon.

Dave wanted to know if I’d be willing to do this?

Willing to do this… are you kidding? This is like a dream come true!

I assume sampling has to be involved in this right? I am dedicated to quality control for Ozark Distillery!

Next March I’m going to spend two days at Ozark Distillery during a bourbon run. I can’t wait.

Christmas came early for me this year!

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Bourbon Mixology II Cover

Speaking of Christmas, be sure to pick up a copy of Bourbon Mixology for all of the whiskey lovers on your holiday list. This book is my bestselling piece of all time and has been a hot holiday seller! It features 50 iconic bars from around the United States sharing their signature bourbon cocktail recipes.

Pick up Bourbon Mixology by clicking here!

 

BOURBON LINEUP

Here are the craft bourbon distilleries to be featured in my upcoming book. Check ’em out:

2bar Spirits (2barspirits.com) * 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company (10thwhiskey.com) * Barrel House Distilling Co. (barrelhousedistillery.com) * Black Dirt Distillery (blackdirtdistillery.com) * Cedar Ridge Vineyards and Distillery (crwine.com) * Colorado Gold Distillery (coloradogolddistillers.com) * Coulter & Payne Farm Distillery (coulterandpaynefarmdistillery.com) * Dark Corner Distillery (darkcornerdistillery.com) * Grand Traverse Distillery (grandtraversedistillery.com) * Heritage Distilling Co. (heritagedistilling.com) * Journeyman Distillery (journeymandistillery.com) * Mississippi River Distilling Company (mrdistilling.com) * New Holland Artisan Spirits (newhollandbrew.com) * Oregon Spirit Distillers (oregonspiritdistillers.com) * Ozark Distillery (ozarkdistillery.com) * Peach Street Distillers (peachstreetdistillers.com) * Silver Back Distillery (sbdistillery.com) * Syntax Spirits (syntaxspirits.com) * Thumb Butte Distillery (thumbbuttedistillery.com) * Woodstone Creek Artisan Winery & Distillery (woodstonecreek.com)

Read all about the brands and the people behind them in Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition. Look for it in late March!