Brewing historians faced with trawling through page after page of ancient journals now have a short cut in the form of Randy Carlson’s labor of love: a series of four CDs (soon to be five) that index important early 20th century publications. The series covers The Brewer and Maltster (1908-1914, complete), The Western Brewer (two CDs: 1898-1923, not complete; 1923-1935, complete), The Brewers Journal (two CDs: 1936-1945, complete; 1946-1960, in preparation).

Carlson has compiled every reference to a brewery in these issues. For each entry that includes a photo or drawing, a sample illustration is included. Researchers can search these databases by city, state or brewery name. Armed with the references, a researcher can locate the appropriate articles if the journals are available; if not, Carlson will supply the articles and illustrations for a small fee.

The pricing is complicated. The indexes cost $25 apiece for The Brewer and Maltster or either of The Western Brewer indexes. This price includes The Brewers Journal index. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Potosi Brewery Museum in Potosi, WI.

These lengthy indexes (around 500 pages of references on each CD) are highly specialized. But for serious students of brewery history, they offer access to material that can be very valuable.