We’re looking for writers and photographers who want to help us tell the true stories of the men and women and companies behind the worldwide boom in bourbon, and who are willing to take side trips into discovering the stories behind other spirits and craft cocktails, too.
We don’t yet pay contributors — and for that we apologize. For now, as we build our magazine, we’re relying on writers and photographers who are in love with the stories behind the drinking life and want to use what we can offer — a press pass, good editing, a guidance — to win access to the heart of those stories. We’ll edit, promote and cherish the work you do. After a 30-day period of exclusive rights for Bourbon Story Magazine, you’ll have the right to publish the content anywhere you like.
So, what are we looking for?
Bourbon intelligence: Is there a new product, a new approach, an undiscussed problem you’re aware of and think our readers should be too? Send us a pitch and we’re likely to get behind a story that reports that out. Keep in mind a few of the questions we’ll be asking: What’s at stake, and for whom? Who are the characters and what will we show them doing so that this will be a story — and not just an article? And what wisdom (or new perspective or new knowledge) will our readers have as a result of reading the piece? These work best at 800 words or less.
Classic photo essays: If you’re gifted storyteller with the lens, send us your best six to eight photos that tell our readers a story about some aspect of the drinking culture that has caught your eye. A new speakeasy in Detroit? A cooperage making barrels the old way? A series of shots with exceptional pours at restaurants across your city? We would love to see photo stories of whatever strikes your fancy. Those series that most tell a story, that have a narrative arc of some kind or that offer a window into a world most our readers won’t ever have access to will be mostly likely to be published. Don’t forget the captions.
Cocktail Advisory: These are mostly short narratives about finding or making cocktails that are worth writing about. They should be written as a true story, not a news article, about your discovery of the cocktail, and include how to make it at home. Less than 600 words, you have time to introduce the place, the people and the drink and include the recipe, your own tasting notes and why you think it’s worth sharing (even if it’s to say it’s no good, overpriced, or otherwise to be avoided.)
Bill Samuels, Jr., chairman emeritus of Maker’s Mark distillery and son of the founder.
Interviews: If you have access to someone with something interesting to say about bourbon drinking, bourbon selling or bourbon making, we’re likely to be interested in an edited transcript of a Q&A between the two of you. These work best when they are tightly edited and run no more than 1,500 words.
Southern Features: Bourbon was born in the South and most of it is still made in Kentucky, so we have a soft spot in our hearts for that region. Got an idea for a long-form feature story about some aspect of life (current or historical) in the South? We should talk. These should be amply reported, with quotes, links and where needed citations, and between 1,500 and 4,500 words.
Notes: We look for supporting materials in everything we post. So when you mention a place, a person, a product include a link in the text so we can see for ourselves (and our readers can, too) what it’s all about. For more complicated sourcing, just include names, emails and phone numbers of the sources you speak to or otherwise relied on.