Sam Brannan was tall, charismatic, and had a talent for evocative and powerful writing, as well as distilling fine brandy.  In 1846, Sam took a voyage on the shop "Brooklyn" from New York to San Francisco with a printing press in tow.  When he landed in San Francisco, he started the town's first newspaper, The California Star, which debuted on January 9, 1847.

In 1848, Sam bolded into the old San Francisco Plaza and was the first to announce the stupendous discovery, "Gold, Gold, Gold, from the American River!".  The whole city followed his lead in the search of gold and his newspaper, The California Star, became known as, "The Voice of the Gold Rush."

The Calistoga Star brandies are a nod to not only Sam's first newspaper in San Francisco but also his love for distilling brandy he called "Calistoga Cognac" that critics during the era called "a brandy equal to the finest brandies in France."