Tag Archives: Distillery

STILL MORE BOURBON ZEPPELIN NEWS

Have you ever heard an artist say one of the biggest challenges of creating a painting is knowing when it’s done?

I mean you are creating a world and you can continue to refine and enhance it seemingly forever. At some point you simply have to stop and say it’s done.

I’m kind of at that point with Bourbon Zeppelin, my bourbon-themed newsletter. From the standpoint of content, the first issue is almost done. I’m still waiting on two brief articles from contributors but the heavy lifting is definitely done. The layout is complete and the other 95% of the content is written, edited and set in place in the document.

I simply can’t quit going back and adding some new touches to it, though. I’m continually going into B.Z. #1 and reviewing the edited material again, adding new graphics, increasing the links in the articles so readers can be taken to the content they are reading about.

In summary, I don’t actually know how you ever feel like it’s complete and ready for publication.

Man, June 1 at 7:00 a.m. central time can’t come quick enough… because that’s the publication date/time and it’s the only time I think I feel like this first issue is going to be complete. When it is sitting in your email inbox… that’s when issue #1 will be totally done!

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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: 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!

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TIME TO TALK BOURBON ZEPPELIN

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.

Perfection!

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.

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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: 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!

MY VISIT TO OZARK 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.

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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 Next Week: Nothing planned, we’ll see what comes up 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

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

BOURBON BOOK ONE – DONE — BOURBON BOOK TWO – DONE SOON

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 LOVE HAWAII EDITION

I love Hawaii. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. The weather is nice. The people are great. The food is awesome. There’s so much to do. You literally could go on and on.

I have visions of retiring to my favorite vacation destination. I even have a favorite website where I often search for homes and condos (check it out here).

Despite my absolute love for our 50th state, I realize I’m not alone. Probably 90% of the people who travel to Hawaii feel the same way.

I’ve got something they don’t though…

A crazy thing has happened to me with my writing and I have to be honest, it’s completely awesome. Though I can’t compare myself to him, I do have a story involving Jerry Seinfeld I can relate to. He often talks about my hometown of St. Louis. It started early in his run of TV show Seinfeld and he speaks to it each and every time he visits.

When Seinfeld just started, the show was struggling to find an audience. He notes the only place it was doing well was St. Louis. Each morning after the show aired everyone on the show would race to see the Neilson ratings for St. Louis. Despite the fact no one else seemed to be getting what they were doing, getting some decent numbers in St. Louis meant the world to him and the cast.

During the course of my brief time writing, I’ve done two books and a short story involving Hawaii: Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat Moves to Hawaii, Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition and the short story A Killer in Kilauea

It’s been amazing how these books have helped me build a great base of readers there. I’ve even gotten some really great articles in a newspaper in Kauai. Check these out: Article #1 & Article #2.

Like Seinfeld and crew, I love to get my weekly sales reports. It’s amazing to see that I sell more books in Hawaii than anywhere else. Even more than my hometown of St. Louis. Almost everybody I know and work with lives here, yet I’m solidly selling more books in Hawaii. Let’s not forget St. Louis alone has almost twice as many people as the entire state of Hawaii. It’s amazing and humbling to me.

No better case can be made about the popularity of my work in Hawaii than the fact I’ve written six short stories (A Killler in Kilauea, The Bacon Killer, The Donut Shop Killer, The Legend of Bear Island, The Lincoln Stalker, and The Vampire of Cliff Cave) and The Killer in Kilauea has sold more than the other five combined!

It really doesn’t matter what happens with my writing career moving forward. If I’m a great success or I simply continue to plug along getting one reader at a time, my love for Hawaii is set. The readers of Hawaii have appreciated my work more so than anyone else and I love the state even more than ever.

The cool thing is, apparently Hawaii loves me back!

 

The following companies are profiled in Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition:

Adoboloco (adoboloco.com) • Akamai Juice Company (akamaijuice.com) • Aloha Spice (alohaspice.com) • Anahola Granola (anaholagranola.com) • Aunty Liliko’i (auntylilikoi.com) • Da Secret Sauce (dasecretsauce.com) • Govinda’s Fresh Juice (govindasjuice.com) • Haliimaile Distilling Company (haliimailedistilling.com) • Hamakua Mushrooms (hamakuamushrooms.com) • Hawaii’s Special (hawaiisspecial.com) • Hula Daddy Kona Coffee (huladaddy.com) • Island Distillers (islanddistillers.com) • Kōloa Rum (koloarum.com) • Kona Natural Soap Company (konanaturalsoapcompany.com) • Maui Brewing Co. (mauibrewingco.com) • Maui Dog Treats (dogtreatsmaui.com) • Maui’s Winery (mauiwine.com) • Minato’s Hawaii (minatohawaiiangift.com) • Molokai Meli (realhawaiianhoney.com) • North Shore Goodies (northshoregoodies.net) • Original Hawaiian Chocolate (ohcf.us) • Sea Salts of Hawaii (seasaltsofhawaii.com) • Shaka Pops (shakapopsmaui.com) • Surfing Goat Dairy (surfinggoatdairy.com) • Tropical Dreams Ice Cream (tropicaldreamsicecream.com)