KANSAS CITY, Ks — Callsign Brewing does everything for one purpose: to honor and give back to our country’s heroes.
The brewery in North Kansas City, Mo. names its flagship beers on tap after the callsigns of lost military aircraft so that every pint can be a chance for education and conversation. Owner Steve Sirois says his vision for his brewery is a place to drink and share stories.
“The beer helps. The beer is a good segway to conversation,” said Sirois.
He decided to open a brewery with a purpose in 2015 after a chance encounter with two widows at a beer festival in Zona Rosa. He brought samples of his “Bomber Brown Ale” which was dedicated to the crew of Komodo 11 that crashed in March of 2003. After they both shared their stories with him after seeing the beer, it was that moment when he realized his own military career came full circle.
“People tend to forget what we go through on a daily basis," said Sirois, an Air Force Veteran who joined back in 1990 when he was just 17-years-old, " For me, telling everybody else’s stories is important because it keep them alive, at least in their memory.”
Throughout his time in the Air Force, Sirois said he learned first-hand the importance of brotherhood while serving in a foreign land. Sirois would served for 32 years before finally deciding to retire two months ago.
Now, his focus is to dedicating his life to telling those untold stories through craft beer. In the Heritage Room of the brewery, there is a chalk board wall where customers can write messages to their loved ones or someone who has been lost.
“We were looking at the board and trying to look at what all the beers are named after,” said customer and Navy veteran, Kevin Rusnak. “There are a lot of veterans that have issues with PTSD and having names like that up there can offer a way to express themselves about certain things that they’ve done in their service, in their career.”
Sirois's biggest fear is knowing that veterans are silently suffering. Sirois works year-round to give back to his military family and first-responders. He has donated nearly $50,000 to Missouri Patriot Paws and the Veterans Community Project.
“You can’t put a price on that — when you know for a fact that you saved some lives out there just because of the money that you raised to help them, and they thank you,” said Sirois.