Eric Simanek, chair of TCU's Chemistry Department, leads the TCU Whiskey School. In his lectures, Simanek examines how science, technology, law, history, and art have impacted whiskey production. The TCU Whiskey School is divided into 13 stand-alone workshops that run two hours each and explore different topics. Each workshop has around 40 participants who will receive a certificate for completing the sessions. Most recently, "Bourbon and Other American Whiskeys" explored the 35 different legislated styles of American whiskey. One of the perks of these classes is that participants don’t just talk about whiskey, they get to sample it.
What inspired the TCU Whiskey School, and what upcoming events can you tell me about?
School should be fun, engaging, challenging, and rewarding. The TCU Whiskey School is inspired by these goals. Born from a collaboration between the College of Science & Engineering and Extended Education, it brings educational programming to the greater community...one shot at a time.
What connections can be made between whiskey and science?
Whiskey is a lens that can be used to focus attention on a range of topics — from big ideas in science to the human condition. The TCU Whiskey School explores the intersection of science, technology, and society. Taxation and technology both have shaped the styles of whiskey that are available today. Whiskey has been a tool of suppression as well as a route toward equality.
In your lectures, you discuss how whiskey has shaped American history. How so?
A recent workshop explored Catholicism, blight, xenophobia, entrepreneurship, nativism, cultural identity, taxation, the 1920 census and the election of Herbert Hoover. The discussion was lubricated with the exploration of all four styles of a common denominator — Irish whiskey.
Learn more about upcoming sessions here.