Tag Archives: craft distillery


Ozark Distillery Building

Ozark Distillery in Osage Beach, Missouri, about 3 hours from my home in St. Louis

Last week I wrote the fact I was preparing to start work at Ozark Distillery. Well, that happened last Sunday and Monday and I can’t begin to tell you how cool this opportunity was.

Owners Dave & Tiffhany Hoffman simply could not have been nicer. Dave, who handles production, had the perfect scenario aligned for a guy who is interested in bourbon. He had two barrels perfectly aged and ready to go. He had a previously cooked mash perfectly fermented and ready to distill. This meant I could see the entire process. Dave and I milled the corn, barley and grains. We cooked a mash. We distilled a fermented mash. We emptied two barrels. We filled bottles, corked them, sealed and labeled them.

Did I mention we drank some bourbon?

It was, without a doubt, one of the most interesting, fun and exciting activities I have ever done.

So what happens now?

Well, while I had a lot of fun, I was also working. During the down times, I was interviewing Dave in preparation for writing a book about Ozark Distillery. The plan is to make this book available on Amazon and in their gift shop. I’ve already started some preliminary work on the book. I’ve interviewed a bourbon historian and started reading a book on the history of bourbon recommended by the bourbon historian. Dave wants a little history mixed in with his story so this should be very helpful.

I have to tell you, if every book was as fun to write as this one has been, I’d have a 1,000 books in my catalog!

At Ozark Distillery

Here’s me, as happy as can be, checking out some bourbon aging in the barrel house.


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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A coworker was telling me about the encouragement she gives to her two-year-old to express himself verbally. Rather than just pointing at something he wants, or grabbing it, she’s continually telling him to “use your words.”

I don’t know exactly why, but I like it.

In unrelated, yet equally as exciting news, I “used my words” this week and completed the second book I have planned to release late next month. Bourbon Mixology is my cocktail book featuring recipes from the craft bourbon distillers featured in the other book I will be releasing next month: Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition.

I cannot begin to express the personal enthusiasm and excitement I have about these two offerings. I simply couldn’t have any more interest in the topic than I do about bourbon. Over the last 10 years I’ve become a true bourbon fan  seeking out new brands to try, visiting Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail numerous times and I trying to visit every distillery I can in my travels.

I think this love for the topic comes through for the reader in pages of the book. Can’t wait for you to check it ou!


Just finished my upcoming book, Small Brand America: Special Bourbon Edition today. I’ve still got the editing to do, but you can’t believe how great it feels to complete that last chapter. Writing my Small Brand America books is a long process involving research, interviews, writing and tracking down busy small business owners to get photos, logos and approvals for their chapter. I can’t wait to get this one in the hands of bourbon fans everywhere!

My second upcoming book, Bourbon Mixology will be done this week. It will feature bourbon-based cocktails from the companies featured in the first book.

We’re still a little more than a month from getting these books published, but these milestones represent small celebrations during the process of writing my books!


I had an interview get postponed last week so I have one chapter to go in my Special Bourbon Edition of my Small Brand America series. One chapter!

The reschedule is set for next Tuesday. I should have that final chapter written by Friday. Normally, the editing process would start immediately. Unfortunately, my editor just had eye surgery so she’s out for a bit as she recovers.

Luckily, I started the second bourbon cocktail book. I can focus on getting it done and ready for a mega session of editing as we’ll have two books to look at.

Look for both Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition and Bourbon Mixology to come out in late March!


Right now I am consumed with bourbon. Thinking about bourbon. Writing about bourbon. Yes, even drinking some bourbon.

Hey, it’s not a bad gig!

I have three chapters written of my upcoming Small Brand America book focusing on craft bourbon distilleries. I am talking to some really cool people. I have to say the stories of these individuals, their companies and their brands has proven to be fascinating thus far. The owners of these companies are passionate, adventurous, risk-taking and each has a unique take on creating the most unique bourbon possible.

Bourbon has gotten so popular the big companies in Kentucky, the epicenter of the bourbon world, have to cut corners to maintain profitability. That means there is room in the market for small brands looking to make their mark by delivering a superior product to their customers. I look forward to telling the stories of these companies and I hope you look forward to reading the stories from these companies.

Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition… look for it in the spring of 2015!


No, I haven’t joined the circus. I’ve been busy writing. I am juggling three projects right now, though.

Here is an update on each:

My next Small Brand America Book – The next edition of this series focuses on bourbon. I figured I would go back to why I started writing… write about what interests me.

Bourbon certainly fits the bill.

I have seven companies already onboard to participate. My first two interviews are this week so I am rolling with this one. I am enthused about telling the stories of these small brands and the people behind them.

My Buddy Book – My first foray into fiction beyond short stories and children’s books focuses on two friends living on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. This one is starting to take shape and I really like the idea of transitioning into writing a real book with the character development and storytelling it represents. Right now I’m in the process of taking the outline I developed for the story and expanding upon it. Each chapter is getting a full page outline where I am filling in the details. I believe I should begin writing the actual story some time later this month.

Coffeehouse Jazz 2 – I’ve done just a little bit of work on my follow-up to this first book in this series. I’ve identified a handful of songs which will be included in the second offering. Still, this represents only a small amount of the actual work I will need to do to complete this one. Even though I’m light on content, I have already completed the cover design and I have to say it’s a dandy. My best cover work to date (I design my own covers for my eBooks). I’ve included a preview of the cover here so you can check it out. Look for Coffeehouse Jazz 2, the eBook, to hit the virtual shelves sometime the first half of next year.

So it’s true. I am doing some real juggling right now, but so far I’ve managed to not drop the ball on anything yet!