Published on 28-02-2024
Calistoga: Your Spirits Destination
Move over wine tasting, a new distillery with handcrafted spirits has arrived in the historic town of Calistoga.

This quaint hamlet in northern Napa Valley has the distinction of being home to California’s first millionaire and town founder, Samuel Brannan. His life is what movie scripts are made of: an entrepreneur with a pioneering spirit is catalyzed by the Gold Rush, reaching staggering fame and fortune only to lose it all in a divorce and be forced to sell pencils before dying penniless. Each chapter of Brannan’s colorful story is expertly captured and retold at the new Calistoga Depot Distillery. This exciting new project from master vintner Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of the Boisset Collection, harnesses each award-winning spirit’s essence, paying homage not only to Brannan’s personal tales, but the history of the region itself. 

Historic Calistoga Depot -Courtesy of Sharpsteen Museum
Historic Calistoga Depot - Courtesy of Sharpsteen Museum

The distillery’s expansive tasting room is housed in California’s second oldest railway station, built by Sam Brannan in 1868. A complete restoration of the interior – from the original hardwood floors to the exposed wooden ceiling planks which soar up to heritage wood rafters – imparts an authentic sense of place. Two large glimmering copper stills anchor the stunning tasting bar, beckoning guests to sip and explore their range of spirits. The upstairs loft offers casual group and private tasting lounges with visual imagery of Sam Brannan’s legacy beautifully woven throughout the space.  The Depot will be open into the evening so come relax after a day of touring to imbibe a craft cocktail off their seasonal menu created by Director of Spirits, Anthony Attanasio.


Calistoga Distillery spirits
Courtesy of Kurt Gonzalez

Small Batch Expressions

Released last fall to great fanfare, the premium collection of barrel-aged and wine-cask whiskeys, bourbon, vodka, gin, brandy have already garnered over 34 awards from the likes of The Fifty Best and received a Master Medal award from The Spirits Business’ American Whiskey Masters.
Leveraging Boisset’s vast knowledge of terroir through blending, tasting, and finishing processes, each spirit is crafted in the same vein, highlighting quality ingredients in the distilling process. For their wine-barrel aged gin and malted barley and rye whiskeys, Boisset called upon the master distiller powerhouses of Ashby & Timo Marshall and Crispin Cain to custom-produce ingredient-forward blends. Retired French and American oak wine-casks once used to house Boisset’s premium Napa Valley and Sonoma County wines now gracefully age the spirits for an extended period to yield smooth, complex flavor profiles.

The First Millionaire: Malted barley whiskeys named for the fortune Samuel Brannan. (SRPs $75-$125)
Fame & Misfortune: Rye-forward whiskeys named after the bohemian temptress of the time, Lola Montez. (SRPs $150-$200)
Prosperous and Penniless: Whiskeys and a barrel-aged gin from Master Distiller Crispin referencing Sam Brannan’s spectacular prosperity and subsequent financial ruin. (SRPs $200-$300)
The Calistoga Star: Barrel-aged fine brandy. Inspired by The California Star, San Francisco’s first newspaper founded by Samuel Brannan. (SRPs $75-$400)
Calistoga Depot Distillery 1868: Distillery-exclusives. Gin, Vodka, and Rum. Tribute to the year 1868, which marks the year that Samuel Brannan built a railroad into Calistoga.


Casa Obsidiana tequilas

Casa Obsidiana

The jewel of this exciting venture is an icon-tier tequila, Casa Obsidiana. The heritage-made fine sipping tequila collection draws inspiration from more than 250 years’ experience in family tequila making and the volcanic soil found at the base of Volcán de Tequila. This earth is also rich in the highly revered obsidian stone. An important totem in Mexican culture, this dark rock has been used in rituals for millennia to cleanse oneself of negative influences and make space for light, passion, and positive intention within us.
Casa Obsidiana embraces these Divine Elements for its handcrafted tequilas, uniting three extraordinary makers to create a fusion of wine and spirit. In collaboration with Jorge and Roberto Beckmann Gonzalez, eighth-generation tequila producers, and Master Tequilero, Francisco Quijana, the trio integrates modern Mexican art and estate-grown, 100% Blue Weber agave with the skill of world-class winemaking.  
Using a proprietary yeast strain and distillation process, the spirit is then “rested” in French oak barrels which formerly aged Boisset’s Napa Valley Chardonnay. Intentionally made for savoring, the complex and smooth tequila is nuanced with soft vanilla notes, a direct result of the vanillin compounds imparted from the spent oak barrels.
A nod to Mexican Cubanism, each abstract bottle reflects elements of this ancient land. Crafted by regional ceramists, the bottles are graced with a hand polished obsidian stone at the neck, and the different colors reveal each style’s origin story. The deep red of the Añejo tequila bottle is meant to embody the iron-rich volcanic earth of the agave fields; the teal blue of the Reposado bottle represents the Blue Webber agave plant and the fluidity of pure water, an integral ingredient in fine tequila; and the creamy sand color of the Blanco tequila vessel symbolizes agave piña, the heart of the agave plant.  

Casa Obsidiana Blanco: Aged 16 days. Aromas of papaya, white flowers, vanilla, and allspice. Lush mouthfeel with notes of vegetation and black pepper. (SRP $190)
Casa Obsidiana Reposado: Aged for four months. Aromas of hazelnut, toffee, charred peppers, and stewed citrus. Warm baking spices, caramel, and earthy agave on the palate. (SRP $250)
Casa Obsidiana Añejo: Aged for 15 months. Aromas of oak, coffee, clove, and candied citrus. Layered flavors of butterscotch, cinnamon, raisins, and roasted agave. (SRP $330)


Jean Charles Boisset
Jean Charles Boisset  : :  Photo by Alex Rubin

Dine and Shop

The thematic style of the Depot’s rail cars creates a natural gathering place for the community and visitors. The Casa Obsidiana Car, named for the tequila collection, serves reimagined traditional Mexican specialties and handcrafted margaritas; The First Millionaire’s Saloon (named after Sam Brannan) is a whiskey-focused saloon with saddles for seats and the décor is curated with antique pieces found throughout California’s Gold Country. The Oyster & Champagne Bar Car sparkles with a chic ocean vibe pairing fresh oysters and caviar with a selection of bubbly from California, France, and beyond. In the specialty chocolatier car, Earth & Sky Chocolates creates handmade European-style bonbons and confections rooted in pure and decadent ingredients. The Depot Wine Merchant will offer a diverse selection of wines from Napa Valley and beyond.

Connected to the Distillery and facing Calistoga’s main street are thoughtfully sourced Provisions provided by Nova Terra Kitchen & Creamery, who offer a curated collection of local artisanal and eco-friendly offerings.  The to-go food offerings feature an array of plant-based options, early morning coffee, baked goods and items to stock up for your day in wine country with a picnic lunch.

The Beer Garden behind the distillery will feature a unique selection of brews in an ideal comfortable outdoor setting along with elevated bar fare. Live music on the weekends will provide the ambiance for lively entertainment while dining.

The fourth unique dining option is provided by Nova Terra Kitchen & Creamery offering a seasonal menu of plant-based comfort food drawing inspiration from around the world, focusing on local, fresh and organic ingredients.

Head to the outdoor patio bar and enjoy impressive wines, classic and fresh seasonal cocktails and mocktails, and a selection of local beers, ciders, kombuchas and elixirs.

In The Wine Room enjoy a selection of more than 16 self-serve wines while immersing yourself in an interactive sensory experience. Hand-blown glass globes as a tool to help identify unique characteristics of your wine.  Within each globe are representations of wine varietals created with both visual and aromatic elements to enhance both your tasting knowledge and palate.

The Calistoga Depot
1458 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga
Provisions store open from 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily



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