Founder & Publisher
From Covey Rise magazine’s award-winning launch in 2012 to its emergence onto the national and global stages, John Thames, publisher and founder of Bourbon+ has steadied the helm of brand expansion while guiding a growing editorial staff, all who share with him an appetite for timeless words and images. Thames brings his expertise in high-quality print and his passion for people and storytelling to the forefront with the arrival of Bourbon+.
Bourbon+ editor-in-chief Fred Minnick spends a lot of time with rockstars. Minnick headlines the annual Bourbon & Beyond Festival that features some of the biggest names in the music world. When he’s not hanging with rockers, he’s a student of bourbon and brings the same intensity to Bourbon+ that he has to his award-winning books Whiskey Women, Bourbon Curious, Bourbon, Rum Curious, and Mead. If you’ve read his past works in Whisky Advocate, Whisky Magazine, and Covey Rise, you know that Minnick will bring Bourbon+ a detail-laden, picture-painting, conversational style of writing that helps you taste and see bourbon’s personality on every page. He’ll also find clever ways to sneak in rum, his bourbon mistress. But more than anything, as he’s done in his NPR, CBS This Morning and New York Times appearances, as well as his Kentucky Derby and Tales of the Cocktail events, the ascot-wearing Kentucky Colonel puts bourbon first. Just like Bourbon+.
Kentucky native Carla Carlton has bourbon flowing through her veins. Her maternal grandmother worked on a bottling line in the 1930s, and her paternal grandfather made whiskey barrel staves to supplement his farming income. She just loves to drink the stuff–neat and at least 100 proof. She shares her knowledge of the spirit and the industry on her website, The Bourbon Babe; in appearances at events like the New Orleans Bourbon Festival and at private tastings; and in her book Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey. She brings a lifetime of bourbon passion and nearly three decades of award-winning writing and editing experience to Bourbon+. And as a charter member of Bourbon Women, an international organization, she’s particularly attuned to making women feel welcome at the bar.
Peggy Noe Stevens
A woman of many firsts, Peggy Noe Stevens is the world’s first female Master Bourbon Taster. A true Kentuckian, she spent 25+ years promoting and innovating America’s native spirit. She founded the first Bourbon Women’s Association, is an original creator of the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and has won industry awards for her innovations. Her true love is immersing herself in entertaining, tasting profiles, and culinary pairings. Known by many in the industry as “a lifestyle maven,” Peggy has worked with celebrities like Julia Child and Bobby Flay, designing hundreds of high-profile events. On the pages of each issue, she’ll make entertaining approachable and easy to do in your own home. From Derby to down home, this tastemaker brings one of a kind expertise to Bourbon+.