Many businesses, products, and places have names rooted in space and astronomy. We’re featuring one every Tuesday on Seattle Astronomy.
This week’s Astro Biz is Blue Moon Brewing Company. Blue Moon is based in Colorado and is best known for its Belgian white beer, but also makes an India pale ale and a variety of seasonal brews as well.
We chose Blue Moon this week because the full Moon of May 21, 2016 is a blue Moon, at least by the older, classic definition, which holds that a blue Moon is the third of four full moons of a season, the time between the equinox and the solstice or vice versa. Around about the middle of the 20th century, a new definition came into common use, designating the second full Moon in a calendar month as a blue Moon.
According to a story on the company website, as the folks at Blue Moon Brewing Company were trying to decide what to name their operation one of those involved remarked that a beer this good comes about “once in a blue Moon,” a phrase that means something that doesn’t occur very often. The name stuck.
Which is more rare? A blue Moon by the seasonal definition happens seven times in a 19-year cycle, while the blue Moon defined by the month happens seven or eight times in 19 years. The last seasonal blue Moon was in August 2013, and the next after the one this week will be in May 2019 . The last by the monthly definition was in July 2015, and the next will be in January 2018.
Oddly enough, while the term blue Moon is supposed to represent rarity, it is becoming the most popular of Astro Biz names. The brewer is the fourth, joining two taverns and a burger joint. Astronomy and beer do seem to mix!