The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

Clarkes Beverages II and the Evolution of Statesboro’s Liquor Culture Part 1

College is all about making memories, and with making memories comes going to your first college party and having what might just be your first alcoholic drink ever. A quick trip to the nearest liquor store with your friends and then off to the party right, at least that’s what you would think living in a college town like Statesboro. For years on end quick liquor store runs were nonexistent for Bulloch county residents as this small city was once a dry county. 

A dry county that had gone to the lengths of banning happy hours up until February of 2006. Fast forward to 2021 when Statesboro residents were able to vote on having liquor stores in Bulloch county. Before this it took a 15-20 minute drive to ‘County Line Package Store’ just to get anything that was not beer or wine. The first round of liquor stores was finally approved in April of 2022, the first one specifically being ‘Clarke Beverages II’, owned by Stephen Bradley Clarke who also owns Clarke Beverages in Newington, GA. 

Brylie Handy has been working at Clarkes since they opened in Statesboro and is also a college student herself and understood the inconvenience of driving all the way to County Line to buy any and all liquor. Mason McCart, a fairly new employee, has been working at Clarkes for only 6 short months. 

They were both able to take time out of their work morning to be interviewed about Clarkes and speak about their experiences since being there. Walking into Clarkes is a bright atmosphere and of course a variety of liquor selections. From mixers and drink syrups to top shelf and bottom shelf liquor choices. Anyone shopping at Clarkes will have many options to choose from. 

Both Brylie and Mason spoke highly about Bradley, the owner of “Clarkes” and expressed the kind of relationship and bonds they have built with him, coworkers and customers during their time there. 

For Brylie, the more seasoned member of the Clarkes team, the allure of the job transcends mere transactions; it’s about the relationships forged over time. “My favorite thing about working at Clarkes is easily the relationships that I have developed with our customers,” she reflects. “I have seen the same faces and new faces come shop for almost 2 years. I would consider a large portion of those people friends.”

Mason echoes Brylie’s sentiment, emphasizing the unique bond shared among the staff. “My favorite thing about working here is the fact that all employees are college students,” he shares. “With this, we all know and understand the struggle of being in college and working a job.”

For this reason Mason would consider this one of the more understanding jobs in the Statesboro area. “We help each other out with covering shifts, and encouraging each other when we have a test or project coming up, and stepping in when needed if there is an illness or family matters unexpectedly come up. This is such a relief because not all jobs can be this understanding. Our bosses are great with this as well.” says McCart. 

With Clarkes being in the middle of a college town most would think their main customers are college students but all ages shop at history making stores and are bound to have a great experience shopping wise and customer service wise. Brylie being a 5th year college student has experienced Statesboro before and after the city’s liquor store era and understanding how inconvenient it may have been before the approval. 

The arrival of liquor stores in Statesboro has signified a huge shift in the city’s landscape, transforming convenience and fostering community support in unprecedented ways. Brylie reflects on the stark contrast between the pre- and post-liquor store era in Bulloch County.

“As a fifth year student, I have been in Statesboro long before liquor stores were open in Bulloch County,” Brylie reminisces. “With this, we had to drive to the ‘County Line’ to buy any and all liquor. The convenience of having liquor options all throughout the city is such an ease.”

Her sentiments echo the feelings of many in the community who once traveled to County Line, now finding solace in the accessibility of local liquor stores. For college students like Brylie and locals alike, the presence of these establishments signifies more than mere convenience; it symbolizes a commitment to supporting small businesses deeply embedded within the fabric of the community.

“College students and locals are going to spend the money on our products no matter where they have to drive,” Brylie emphasizes. “So giving these small businesses their business is awesome! All of the package stores in Statesboro are family-owned, and coming from a family who has a small business, I know the importance of this!”

As someone who is a part of Geek Life Mason expressed his importance of supporting small business. “Knowing the importance of supporting small organizations like Ducks Unlimited in the county,” he explains, “I have seen firsthand working at Clarkes how our support and contributions mean a lot to these groups.”

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About the Contributor
Briyanna Thompson
Briyanna Thompson, Co-Editor-in-Chief, The George-Anne
Briyanna is the Editor in chief for the George-Anne. She is a Senior Public Relations major with a minor in Sports Management. She is from Decatur, GA, and she joined the George-Anne fall in 2021 to gain news experience and further her future career plans. She is interested in sports writing and loves listening to music. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Pi You can send news tips to her email

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