Read up on further Beer News and Women Who Brew to enjoy stories like Rose Signor’s.
Humans have been drinking beer or similar drinks for several thousand years, but many do not realize early brewers were mainly women, making beer as one of their normal household tasks. However, by the 18th century the brewing gradually became a man’s job and women were relegated to roles as barmaids, pub operators, bottlers or secretaries for breweries.
Over time beer also came to be viewed as a man’s drink. Now with the craft beer renaissance and the realization and acceptance that beer can be enjoyed by all, more and more women choose beer as their drink of choice. They are also entering the beer business as brewers and brewery owner/operators.
In this series we delve into the backgrounds of several women—co-owner/operators, brewers and operations managers. These accomplished women are leaving their mark on the beer industry in Southern Nevada in occupations integral to the brewing business. Read on to discover the paths that led them to this field and the quite significant contributions they have made and continue to make.
Rose Signor was born and raised in upstate New York near Albany in the small town of Peru, just south of the Canadian border. Her life on the family’s 350-acre farm included several chores involved with growing hay and raising cattle, a far cry from her future career as a craft beer bar owner and prominent member of the Las Vegas beer community.
Early Aspirations for Rose Signor
The 37-year-old describes herself as a tomboy, as she was driving her family farm’s tractor from the time she was 12 years old and became enmeshed in several sports. Rose competed in track, basketball, volleyball, horseback riding, gymnastics and excelled as an athlete to the point that she played in a traveling soccer league and was the only girl on a boys hockey team.
Rose’s aspirations would evolve when she attended college in Albany; she was a Communications major and hoped to be a news anchor.
Beer Education and Beyond
In 2008, at the age of 21, Rose moved to Las Vegas due to a desire to head out west where her aunt and grandmother lived. After getting a job at a Buffalo Wild Wings with a vibrant craft beer list that required her to learn about and experience the beers being poured, she began appreciating craft beer to the point that her career trajectory transitioned. She also found that she was well suited to the service industry due to her fondness for conversation and that she likes people.
In 2010 a move to Seattle, a city with a booming craft beer scene far above most cities at the time, was made. At the time, nearly all bars were gaming and a focus on craft beer had yet to be developed in the Entertainment Capital of the World. While the move cemented her desire to seek a profession in beer, and she landed positions managing bars in Seattle, she missed Las Vegas, the desert and its drier weather, and so a year later moved back, but this time with the goal to do her own beer program.
Rose got to do just that after returning to Las Vegas, as she landed the manager position at the Bunkhouse Saloon. It also turned out to be fortuitous, for while she was working there, she got to know one of her customers, Lance Johns. He was getting ready to reopen the historic Atomic Liquors, with 20 taps and a focus on beer. Johns wisely hired Rose as the first bar manager at Atomic Liquors, which reopened in 2013 as a non-gaming bar. At Atomic there were no limits placed on Rose, and she had the freedom to develop the craft beer program.
Part of her influence was introducing Las Vegans to sour beer and instituting a sour beer festival at Atomic that grew in popularity and attendance to became one of the largest fests of its type in the nation.
Intermission to Travel the World
In 2018, after realizing it was time to move on and develop her own bar, Rose and her boyfriend Andrew Smith (she met him while working alongside him at Atomic) took time off to travel for both pleasure and research. Over the course of nine months the couple backpacked across Europe and beyond, with stops in several countries including Iceland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, England and Morocco. Along the way they picked up nuances of the various beer cultures and traditions of the locales they visited, which they stored in their minds for later use when they would open their own bar that would prove to be unique in a lot of ways.
The Silver Stamp Is Born
Upon returning to Las Vegas another fortuitous happening occurred. Lance Johns bought an old standalone building in the Gateway District (just a block from the Arts District) and offered it to Rose and Andrew to make their own. The old structure had been built in 1963 and required a lot of work and construction, which the couple would do most of themselves. Rose says, “We started construction two weeks before COVID hit, and took our time with it. We were in here every single day, laying out all the plumbing, all the electrical, everything.” The buildout of the craft beer bar was completed over the course of 1.5 years and The Silver Stamp eventually opened in February 2021.
The name is symbolic, as Nevada is the Silver State and silver bars are “stamped” with a seal of authenticity. The refurbished building kept its vintage aspect.
Rose says, “I grew up in a very small town with basements and I love vintage. We wanted a place to make people feel comfortable and that would appeal to everybody, not just one age group, and was nostalgic for people no matter where you come from.”
The craft beer bar has been likened to your grandfather’s basement in the 1970s. A canned beer wall at the entrance that was sourced from Rose and Andrew’s personal collection contributes to an old school vibe that continues with vintage beer memorabilia, various beer signs, logoed neon lights, Christmas lights, a 1970s era TV, wood paneling and brick walls. All contribute to a kitschy (in a good way!) atmosphere.
As for the beer selection, as would be expected, you’ll find beer from around the world, with an emphasis on excellence and uniqueness such as Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier Rauchbier and Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux Saison. In addition to the 20 taps there are also more than 100 in cans and bottles of equally stellar brews and always a handful of local beers. Another aspect that separates The Silver Stamp apart from the rest is its distinctive lineup of beers you won’t find anywhere else in the city, or state, for that matter, or sometimes in the entire US.
From the time The Silver Stamp opened, it quickly became one of the most frequented craft beer establishments in the city, and has developed quite a following in the local beer community. It built a reputation for being a relaxed inviting hang out for beer lovers and is also frequented due to special events like the recent Belgian Beer Week and periodic tap takeovers. Others are taking notice of its success; The Silver Stamp was recently selected as one of the 150 businesses in Yelp’s Top Mom and Pop Shops in America, and is a finalist for the top spot, which has narrowed down to 32 (the winner is currently being selected through voting on social media).
Typical Work Day
Rose describes her typical day as never typical. She labels herself as a workaholic, putting in lots of hours from eight to 16 a day, but likes being her own boss. Her duties include accounting, ordering (which includes a list of up to 150 beers at any given time), payroll, staff training and education, hiring and social media.
Rose (and Andrew) also works two to three bartender shifts a week: “We never want to lose touch with our guests and it’s great to work side by side with our staff. It creates great morale.”
What she likes best about her work is having the freedom to develop their (hers and Andrew’s) own beer program and giving to the beer community by offering a multitude of beer styles as well as world class beers you don’t see anywhere else.
“We offer a lot of styles you don’t see all the time and never serve a bad beer,” says Rose. “We literally pour what we love, and our excitement transcends across the bar.”
What’s most challenging is that while it’s her passion and she loves to work, she needs to sometimes turn it off, stop working and take time for herself.
As for what beers she prefers to drink, with her background in developing the aforementioned sour beer festivals, it’s not surprising that her taste buds favor the sourest of all beer styles.
Rose says, “I love all beer, especially (Belgian-style) Lambics and Gueze, but also German pilsners.”
Inspiring Women in Brewing and the Future
Rose acknowledges two women from our local beer community as being inspirations to her, both of whom have been featured in this series: “(CraftHaus co-owner) Wyndee Forrest is incredibly intelligent, trailblazing, thoughtful, a funny, nice woman, and she’s in it for the right reasons. She loves beer and wants to make the community better.”
She also singles out Kayla Callahan: “Kayla has been in the beer industry so long. She was an OG at Joseph James, and is so knowledgeable on every facet of beer, knows front of house, back of house and the distribution end, and has administered tests for the cicerone program.”
As for how she sees the future of the brewing industry moving towards accepting and attracting more women, Rose gives a nod to the Pink Boots Society, an organization comprised of women and non-binary individuals working in any facet of fermented beverages and through meetings and networking members learn of opportunities for positions in the alcoholic beverage industry.
Rose says, “At a local small business level, being open minded, hiring women and women owners like myself and Wyndee is empowering. Making sure nonprofits like The Pink Boots Society are supported and appreciated. Organizations like that help educate and place them in jobs. There’s still a long way to go but more women like myself, Kayla and Wyndee can keep reaching out to other women.”
Does the future include another The Silver Stamp? Rose thinks not, saying, “We will never do another Silver Stamp. We’ve had offers to franchise, but it’s special and should not be replicated. But we are considering another concept. Andrew has a very great resumé in cocktails and we both love the design aspect and putting it all together.”
Rose is easy to find. Just show up at The Silver Stamp at 222 E Imperial Ave between the opening hours of 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. and you’ll likely see her tending bar or enlivening her customer’s experience with her friendly, engaging and welcoming nature.
The Silver Stamp
222 E Imperial Ave