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Calistoga Depot Distillery

Small-batched, barrel-aged spirits reflecting distinguished moments in Sam Brannan's storied life.

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The life of Sam Brannan - the visionary genius behind California's Gold Rush - was marked with both spectacular prosperity and magnificent failure.  Once hailed as a dreamer, leader, and empire builder during the pinnacle of his success, this soldier of fortune died in 1880, remarkably penniless and unable to afford his own funeral.

Brannan's Calistoga Distillery gained much acclaim before he fell victim to financial ruin, and this expertly crafted spirits pay homage to the entrepreneurial spirit of his original Calistoga Distillery, founded more than 170 years ago.

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Sam landed in San Francisco with a printing press in tow and started the town's first newspaper, The California Star, which would later herald the news of the Gold Rush and bring Sam his fortune.  With his earnings, he purchased 20,000 grapevine cuttings on a trip to Europe with the intention of producing brandy "equal to the finest brandies in France" at his distillery in Calistoga.

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One of the nineteenth century's most provocative entertainer's, Lola Montez was infamous during her own lifetime for her fiery temper and irresistible charm. Her ambition and propensity to attract powerful men knew no bounds. Married three times, with dozens of lovers including Sam Brannan, the Bohemian temptress led a life full of adventure.  But like so many romantic heroines before and since, she met with a tragic end.

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The majority of miners that came to California during the Gold Rush left with about as much money as they came with. But not Sam Brannan. A genius entrepreneur and shrewd businessman, Sam cleverly plotted to make a fortune on the desperate 49ers and their demand for equipment during the Gold Rush. 

Bar tender making a cocktail at the Calistoga Depot

Visit the


A visit to the Calistoga Depot Distillery brings alive the spirit of distillation from the 1860s, when Sam Brannan dreamed of producing the first great brandies of California. Walls redolent with the story of the 1868 formation showcase historical imagery of the area and celebrate the authentic Calistoga spirit.

Small-batched, wine-cask finished spirits reflect moments in Sam Brannan's storied life.  Enjoy flights of distinctive brandies, whiskies, and bourbons as well as signature cocktails.