Tag Archives: Ozark Distillery

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

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GETTING READY FOR WORK

I think the term “fantasy camp” started with baseball where they would have some retired players instructing grown men and women about baseball. Then the camp participants play in a live game with the retired players serving as coaches. Now they’ve got all kinds of fantasy camps… guitar, cooking, military, survival, you name it!

While I’ve never participated in any sort of official camp, I’m embarking on a two-day journey that can best be described as bourbon fantasy camp. Dave Huffman, the owner of Ozark Distillery, was featured in my book Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition. The concept of the Small Brand America series was very simple; I would highlight tiny brands which manage to survive as the compete against much larger and better funded competitors. The “secret” to their success tends to be not so secret… they often have a superior product to these huge manufacturers who cut corners based upon their volume and ownership structures to increase profitability at the expense of quality.

Dave Huffman’s Ozark Distillery is a perfect example. First of all, it’s primarily a two-person operation. Dave and his wife Tiffhany. Two people. Yet, his product sits on the shelf next to Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, PAPPY VAN WINKLE, etc.

Can you imagine?

How can two people take on mega corporations in a sales channel these large companies have a stranglehold on? Well, it’s the quality discussion from above. There are all of these high-tech yeast strands you can now buy. They speed up the process for making distilled spirits. Dave shuns them. He wants the strands they have been using since the real James Beam himself was making bourbon. That’s what makes bourbon taste like bourbon. Dave also filters out the bad alcohols which cuts down on volume, but gives him a smoother tasting product. His approach into everything with his product is to stick to the highest quality ingredients and simply not cut any corners.

Dave liked being in the Small Brand America book but we had talked about writing a book just about his company he could sell in his gift shop. Part of the research for the book would involve me coming down to spend a few days working at his place, seeing him in action making bourbon.

Those two days are here. In about an hour I will be heading to Dave’s place to make bourbon. We’ll be cooking a mash, barreling, bottling and sampling. Yes, sampling. You have to, it’s part of the job. We’re even going to take some of the bottles we bottle while I am there and making the first ever “Ozark Distillery Signature Series” signed by both Dave and I.

Pretty cool, huh?

Yes, this sounds way better to me than a baseball fantasy camp with an accountant, who just learned to pitch in a 30 minute training session, is there throwing a baseball at my head!

_______________________

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: I share my experience about working at Ozark Distillery.

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!

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!

BOURBON TIME!

Right now, I am all in when it comes to the special edition of my Small Brand America series featuring craft bourbon distillers. Currently, I have already interviewed individuals from 12 companies. These interviews will translate to 12 chapters in the book. I am in various stages of writing, editing, adding photos and working with the companies involved to make sure I am representing their company accurately in the book.

Here’s a look at the impressive lineup I have already assembled:

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co. 10thwhiskey.com

Colorado Gold Distillery coloradogolddistillers.com

Don Quixote Distillery dqdistillery.com

Heritage Distilling heritagedistilling.com

Journeyman Distillery journeymandistillery.com

Mississippi River Distilling mrdistilling.com

New Holland Artisan Spirits newhollandbrew.com

Ozark Distilleryozarkdistillery.com

Peach Tree Distillers peachtreedistillers.com

Silverback Distillery sbdistillery.com

Syntax Spirits syntaxspirits.com

 I have 8 more interviews lined up after the first of the year. Look for Small Brand America: Special Bourbon Edition to be available somewhere around March 1!

Woodstone Creek woodstonecreek.com