By: Beth Ann Luedeker
Contact: Dr. Seth Murray - [email protected]

Seth Murray talking
Dr. Seth Murray explains how the different types of whiskey are created during his seminar on Capitol Hill. (Photo by: Darren Sheets)

Dr. Seth Murray recently conducted a whiskey tasting on Capitol Hill to help educate legislators on the importance of public agriculture research.

Murray’s presentation was part of the Hill Lunch-N-Learn seminar series sponsored by the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR).

More than 100 Congressional staff members had the opportunity to taste three Texas whiskeys as Murray, Associate Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and Butler Chair for Corn Breeding and Genetics at Texas A&M University, discussed research he and his graduate student, Rob Arnold, are doing into the effect corn variety has on the flavor.

Seth Murray by table with whiskey shots
Dr. Seth Murray is introduced at the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research Lunch-n-Learn Seminar. (Photo by Darren Sheets)

Arnold is working toward his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding through Texas A&M’s distance program while working as the head distiller at Firestone & Robertson Distillery in Fort Worth.

Staffers had the opportunity to taste F&R’s commercially available “TX” whiskey, and two samples which had been aged for a year and a half in matched oak barrels. One of the matched samples was made from a TAMU experimental hybrid grown in Burleson County and the other from a commercial corn variety produced in Hill County.

“The staffers liked the whiskey, but more importantly they thought the flavors of the two matched samples were very different,” Murray said. “This is great because it shows that different corns do make a difference.”

shots of whiskey lined up on a table
Staff members on Capitol Hill had the opportunity to compare three types of whiskey, including two matched samples used to demonstrate the different flavor created by different corn varieties. (Photo by Darren Sheets)

Murray also noted that seasoned whiskey drinkers preferred the TAMU corn while the staffers who do not like whiskey preferred that made with commercial corn.

National C-FAR hosts the Lunch-N-Learn presentations to help staffers appreciate the importance of food and agriculture research and to facilitate more informed staff recommendations to members of Congress about food and agriculture research and education funding.

powerpoint slide with pictures of TX whiskey and Seth Murray with whiskey samples
The first slide of Murray's presentation during the Lunch-n-Learn seminar on Capitol Hill explains his research.