Sohn Brewery, opened in 1839, at the southwest corner of High Street and South Monument Avenue (the Water Street), near the present site of the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument. John W. Sohn, a native of Bavaria, was the first German lager brewer in Hamilton. He converted a former saddlery shop into a brewery in 1839. Sohn, born May 23, 1815, in Windsheim, Germany, a son of a brewer, learned the cooper and brewer trades before coming to the United States in 1834. Sohn operated the brewery until 1865, when he limited its production to malt, which he sold to other brewers in the area. Hamilton historians report that as early as 1813 a commercial brewery was operated in Hamilton by a businessman known only as R. Birch. His product was English beer, not the Bavarian lager that became popular with the arrival of Sohn and other German-born brewers.