Tag Archives: bourbon cocktails


BZ Logo

After teasing the concept in social media for five months, and working on it for over seven months, it’s finally time to talk about Bourbon Zeppelin…

It’s almost time.

On June 1, 2016, Bourbon Zeppelin will finally launch. Bourbon Zeppelin, or B.Z. as I’m also calling it, is a newsletter I am in the process of creating which will appeal to the moderate to fanatical bourbon fan. In a nutshell, it’s everything bourbon.

You see, bourbon fans love the distilled beverage, but they also want more when it comes to the juice aged in charred white oak barrels. They like the history of bourbon, getting to know the people behind the favorite brands, they love items which help them enjoy bourbon (glassware, bar tools, etc.), they like products which showcase their love for bourbon they even are fans of products made with bourbon (soaps, candies, ice cream and more).

Bourbon has become so popular it seems like this type of information is everywhere if your eyes are open to it, but it’s not in one nice and neat place. That one place is going to be Bourbon Zeppelin.

So why the name Bourbon Zeppelin?

First of all, I love the name. It just came to me one day and then the idea of how I would do this all fell in place after I had that super catchy moniker for it. It’s a little rock ‘n roll.

Bourbon Zeppelin… like Led Zeppelin.

To me that aspect works, because bourbon is the king of distilled spirits rock ‘n roll right now in the U.S. market. Also, like a good rock ‘n roll band whose sound starts to permeate outside of the country where it starts, bourbon is picking up steam around the world. It’s becoming more-and-more popular outside of the U.S. which is cool because bourbon truly is the United States contribution to the world of distilled spirits. Everything else… vodka, rum, brandy, cognac, other forms of whiskey were all created elsewhere.

I also thought the name Bourbon Zeppelin was perfect for this project because zeppelins are used to promote products. B.Z. is going to be promoting the bourbon industry.


The final reason why I really am a fan of the name is the branding opportunities. Zeppelins are cool. Bourbon is cool. Put them together and you’ve got a pretty awesome underlying theme for your brand. My buddy Mark Hansen, a graphic artist, is doing all of my graphics work by hand-drawing my graphics with a vintage look. I’ve got him creating a database of graphics I will be able to use for this publication that will give it an incredible look that is very appealing to the eye.

The plan is to email B.Z. out monthly to my personal email database (300+ and counting) and promote it to my 40,000+ social media followers. The format is single column feature article to open it up, a few words by me, then it’s a three-column format with quick bits about various things bourbon fans are interested in (the bourbon “lifestyle” with products fans will be interested in, group bourbon reviews, bourbon book reviews, a monthly cocktail, the rumor mill, and more).

After the three-column “quick hits” section, it transitions back to a one column format with more articles and regular features (I’ve got a husband and wife team of bourbon experts answering questions about bourbon, a classic reviewer who will be providing detailed tasting notes about a bourbon each month, etc.).

All of the content comes in three ways.

1). I create it.

2). A team of friends from Instagram and Twitter, serving as contributors, helps provide content.

3). Industry insiders.

The “industry insiders” are individuals I have recruited to contribute. I am surveying them on a monthly basis and they respond with potential content for B.Z. I take the best of what my contributors submit and create the newsletter.

Currently, I have over 200 industry insiders. These are people that work for distilleries or adjacent markets (products that either support the bourbon industry or are made of it). I have been able to get them on board by reaching them via email and telling them about the project. Two hundred is a big number, but my initial list was over 700 strong. I’m planning on revisiting the ones that didn’t respond after the first edition is published. It’s difficult getting people to buy into your idea when it’s just a concept. I think even more will be onboard when they see what I am doing with the information/content they would potentially be providing.

So Bourbon Zeppelin is going to be a big hit, right?

I sure hope so. It’s been a long journey getting here. In reality, I have no idea. The way I see it, there are two ways it could go wrong:

1). The audience isn’t there. I think there is going to be a lot of interest in this project, but I don’t know for sure. I do know there is a strong trend to make e-newsletters shorter. People don’t want the Wall Street Journal style in newsletters, they want the USA Today style. This is clearly going to be the opposite of that trend. I am promoting it as the magazine of newsletters and I hope the bourbon fanatics soak up all of this great information like a sponge. Then again, maybe I can’t buck the trend of shorter is better and it’s a flop.

2). Will the contributors keep contributing? These publication goes nowhere if the contributors don’t see the value in what I’m doing. I think this takes care of itself if I shore up number one and it finds an audience. After all, these brands want to promote their products, so I’m guessing if I deliver and audience they want to be there and will contribute, but I haven’t done this before so I don’t know.

I’m hoping B.Z. is big. Really big. The audience looks forward to it being published each month, the industry insiders love what I’m doing and it’s great fun along the way. That would be the ultimate success for this project.

So that my friends is finally the “rest of the story” about Bourbon Zeppelin. Look for that first issue on June 1st.


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!

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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!


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!


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!