Alumnus and owner of Bracy’s Nursery Randy Bracy has turned his passion for Scotch into a gallery of liquid treasure.
Many people collect things. It’s a part of human nature—that sentimental desire to create an assortment of objects that are loved. Whether it’s stamps, dolls, vinyl records, or even Pokémon cards, most people have started a collection of some sort. But a few have turned their collecting into an art form, and Randy Bracy is one of those collectors.
Randy, a 1974 Southeastern graduate, collects Scotch. Enough to need a small fortress to house it all, completewith museum-quality shelving displays, LED lighting, and climate control. And don’t forget the vault door and bulletproof windows!
Welcome to The Scotch House.
Once you’ve had a moment to take it all in (the sheer number of Scotch bottles, the 3,100 feet of wooden shelving, the mood-setting lighting, the deep leather chairs, the impressive mahogany table, and more), Randy will kindly pour you a glass of his favorite Scotch (Highland Park, neat) and happily regale you with the story of how it all started: with a fifth of Scotch in Friendship Circle.Randall “Randy” Bracy was born a third-generation dairy farmer and majored in animal science at Southeastern in the early 1970s. He felt right at home and made friends quickly.
“The thing I loved about Southeastern was that it had a small-town feel with all the amenities of a much larger university,” explained Bracy. “We knew all of our teachers really well. Classes were small and we had good relationships with everyone.”
The combination of a quality education and familiar social aspect on campus is what Randy cherishes the most about his time at Southeastern. “It was and still is a true community,” he said.
After graduation, Randy intended to return to the dairy business. But he soon realized that his knack for business and background in science could go beyond the sale of just dairy cows.
“My father-in-law was a horticulturist in Hammond,” says Randy. “He had a chance to get some peach trees. Turns out, I was much better at selling fruit trees. Each year after that, we started to sell more and more. Then we realized we could sell more than just fruit trees because of our big customer base.”
Those few peach trees turned into the booming horticultural hub that is now Bracy’s Nursery in Amite, La. Randy and his wife Dr. Regina Bracy, who is also a graduate of Southeastern, have overseen the enterprise of nearly 250 acres and approximately 130 employees for over 30 years. Bracy’s Nursery proudly serves as one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the South, shipping from Oklahoma to the Carolinas.
Randy is a heart-warming example of the phrase “hard work pays off.” The son of Louisiana dairy farmers took the skills, connections, and degree he earned at Southeastern and used them to create his own little corner of paradise. And as the years passed, he got to enjoy the fruits (and trees and plants) of his labor every evening over a good glass of Scotch.
“I love the idea of Scotch in that it’s so simple,” says Randy. “It’s only made of three things: barley, water, and yeast.” His love for this simple beverage, which turned into a not-so-simple hobby, began over 50 years ago with a group of friends at a Southeastern football tailgate.
Here in South Louisiana, it’s no secret that football fans (those of age, of course) can be found enjoying the adult beverage of their choice at a tailgate. Randy and his buddies were no exception. But none of them had any idea that a simple change in libation would have such an effect on their lives nearly 50 years later.
“My friend Ernie Bush (also class of ’74) and I used to go to Southeastern Football games,” Randy chuckles. “We’d bring a fifth of Bourbon—but by halftime, it would be gone. So, he got smart and brought a fifth of Scotch to the next game. No one wanted to drink it, so it lasted for several games.”
The Scotch became a tradition for them, one that Randy carried with him for the rest of his life. And every time he sits down in his favorite leather chair, drink in hand, Randy fondly recalls the good friends he made at Southeastern and the memories they made together.
Randy has simple advice for current and future students: “Enjoy it. Southeastern will be the greatest time of your life.”
Savor it, perhaps, like a good glass of Scotch—all the way down to the last drop.
BY KATI MORSE LEBRETON