Gamecock fans on Twitter have always bonded (and bickered) over their teams. An online community, the Gamecock Bourbon Society, allows them to bond in ways other than just over garnet and black. (Photo illustration by Noah Hale)
Moving to a new place, no matter how familiar, can be a lonely experience.
G.C. Ramey, an administrative assistant for the University of South Carolina’s history department, knew Columbia. He’s come to Gamecock games in the city.
But when his wife took a new job, relocating them to the Capital City from Charlotte, he wasn’t sure he knew many people in the area.
He sent a tweet asking if anyone would be interested in a “Gamecock Bourbon Society.”
The account has more than 6,000 followers a year later and has cultivated a close-knit community.
“I was hoping for maybe 10 people total,” Ramey said.
Part of the society’s function is to hold events that bring its members together.
Its first event was the day before the Garnet and Black spring game 2022, fittingly held at Bourbon, a cocktail bar and restaurant on Main Street. The society sold all 75 of its tickets in two days.
The members let in a few extra entries at the door, bringing the attendance to more than 100 people.
“We realized (the society) had the potential to be something special,” said Garrett Dailey, who helps run the twitter account.
The event, where he had the opportunity to meet some of the account’s followers, made the Bourbon society tangible for Ramey.
The meetup brought in Gamecock football coaches and musician Patrick Davis.
Former USC quarterback Stephen Garcia also made the trip from his home in Tampa, Florida, to be the headline guest.
“It’s more just kind of like a meetup, a get-together with guys that you know, enjoy talking s—, and, you know, about life in general,” Garcia said. “And just sharing some good bourbon. … Life’s too short to drink s—-y bourbon.”
The society has gained notoriety in bourbon circles as well. It was recently pre-chosen to receive one of 16 single-barrel selections by Blue Run Spirits.
Blue Run Spirits received up to 6,000 applications for its spirit. Blue Run selected the Gamecock Bourbon Society – and Total Wine, too, for that matter – to receive a barrel because of the distillery’s familiarity with the group.
Gamecock Bourbon Society has not selected its barrel yet, But it’ll be chosen democratically by a small curation team, Ramey said.
The society’s creators are quick to call it a community.
“We’re just building a group that you can come (to) and, you know, make relationships,” Dailey said. “Not just on social media, but outside of that. That’s something G.C. and I are really proud of, is that we’ve developed a community in real life outside of the Twitter space and Instagram.”
Ramey said it was “surreal” seeing the good the society has done for the people who are part of it.
Some members have contacted the Twitter account to say how much it’s helped them connect to others or have reached out to others they’ve met through the society.
John Stavrinakis reactivated his Twitter account because of the society and is now a fairly well-known member. He opened his direct messages on the site for people to come to him if they need to talk.
“I’ve made private connections with so many people and (we) talk about just life in general,” he said. “Like, not even about Gamecocks or about bourbon. Just, like, about life.”
Meetups aren’t limited to paid events. The society has hosted plenty of small gatherings. Sometimes meetups are tailgates, where the group invites people to stop by or hanging out at bars. The goal is to have people out and socializing offline.
“It’s not just about bourbon,” Ramey said. “It’s not just about the Gamecocks. It’s about society.”