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Mason Brewery

Mason Brewery, 365 South C Street, Hamilton, had several owners and a series of names, but was best known as the Mason Brewery because its most prosperous period began in 1886 when 30-year-old Martin Mason became involved in its ownership and operations. During its early existence, it was known as the Rossville Brewery. Daniel Beck and John Koeninger built the brewery in Rossville in 1852. It was destroyed by fire in 1853, and rebuilt in 1854 by Jacob Stahl, who operated it until 1869. In 1875, it was known as the West Hamilton Brewery, Henry Eger, malster and brewer.

Martin Mason was born in Hamilton Oct. 1, 1856, a son of German-born parents.

He held a series of jobs before joining Herman Reutti, his father-in-law, in the malting business as Mason & Reutti on Maple Avenue. In 1886 Mason joined Henry P. Deuscher in a partnership in the Rossville Brewery. A year later, Mason acquired Deuscher's interest. As its sole owner, Mason invested $50,000 in improvements, expanded cpacity to 20,000 barrels a year and increased employment from eight to 25 people over 15 years. Because Mason used Eagle as a brand name, the business became known as the Eagle Brewery and the Eagle Brewing Co. In 1896 it was incorporated as the Martin Mason Brewing Co. under the leadership of Martin Mason and William F. Mason. Later, Charles E. Mason and William O. Schlosser also were associated with the company. (Martin, William F. and Charles E. Mason were brothers.) Health problems forced Martin Mason to leave Hamilton in 1898 and he died Feb. 3, 1900, in Tucson, Ariz.

The Mason brewery was the only Butler County brewery to continue business when Ohio prohibition began in May 1919. The Cincinnati Brewing Co. in Hamilton and the Sebald Brewing Co. in Middletown closed. During prohibition, the Hamilton Brewing Co. produced beer in the Mason building until April 1929 when owner John Kiessling closed because of a lack of business. Production resumed when prohibition ended in December 1933. The company was placed in receivership in November 1939, but the brewery continued to produce Old Hollander beer and ale until brewing ended in 1941. Later, the building at the northwest corner of South C and Millikin streets was used as a store and warehouse by Landmark (Butler County Farm Bureau Cooperative) until it was demolished in 1977. (See Rossville and Rossville Historic District.)

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