Henry Schmulbach was born in Germany on November 12, 1844. When he was a child, he and his family immigrated to Wheeling. By the time he was a young adult, Schmulbach had become one of the city’s most successful businessmen, selling retail groceries and wholesale liquor.
In 1881, he purchased Wheeling’s Nail City Brewery. The next year, he changed its name to Schmulbach Brewing and increased the plant’s annual output to 200,000 barrels of beer. Schmulbach was one of many German immigrants who turned Wheeling into an important brewing center in the late 1800s.