Furman University fans and friends have a new way to show their spirit for the university. FU All the Time, a favorite Paladins cheer, is also now a private-label straight bourbon whiskey.
FU All the Time debuted at the launch party for the Clearly Furman campaign on Saturday night, April 15, on campus. The campaign is Furman’s most ambitious, to raise $426 million by the university bicentennial in 2026.
“The launch of the Clearly Furman campaign was an exciting time, with hundreds of alumni and donors and other friends on campus,” said Elizabeth Lichtenberg, senior director of brand strategy and visual communications for Furman. “We thought FU All the Time bourbon would be popular, and it was a huge hit. Everyone loved it. It felt good to offer the Furman Family something new and unique that they could enjoy, take some pride in, and give them a new way to toast and celebrate Furman. We expect this new product to be a favorite for a long time.”
Lichtenberg managed licensing opportunities for the university and was pitched the idea of bourbon in 2022 through Affinity Licensing, a university partner. They brought Ironclad Distillery in Newport News, Virginia, to the table, and the bourbon was born, along with a new way to share Furman’s brand.
A small group of University employees got a preview of the spirits last May and gave it enthusiastic thumbs up, along with an idea for the name. Furman graphic designer Chris Turner designed the distinctive label.
“’FU All the Time’ really resonates with alumni, faculty, and staff,” Lichtenberg said. The cheer was made famous by two former Furman presidents. Legend has it that Gordon Blackwell started the phrase in the 1960s, and John E. Johns amplified it, literally, as he would do the cheer with a megaphone at the big games. Joseph Vaughn, Furman’s first Black undergraduate student and a Furman cheerleader, is also said to have had a hand in popularizing the beloved cheer.
FU All the Time’s quality will also appeal to anyone not associated with Furman.
“This is super clean. It is everyone’s bourbon,” said Zach Wheeler with Aleph Wines, the distributor for South Carolina. FU All the Time is made with four grains (corn, wheat and rye from Virginia and malted barley). It’s aged in oak barrels from South Carolina for at least three years. “It’s smooth and fruity on the front end, with some grain. It goes into baked goods, biscuit flavor on the back of the tongue and ends with the rye bite that mellows out the 100 proof,” Wheeler said.
FU All the Time straight bourbon whiskey is available online and in liquor stores and restaurants across the Upstate, with statewide distribution coming soon.