When Binder Park Zoo hosts its hugely popular Bonteboktoberfest fundraiser on Saturday, every guest’s serving of Michigan craft beer will have a little history, a lot of passion and a great deal of meticulous planning to get Michigan’s most acclaimed brews to the zoo.
Five of the Michigan craft beers on tap at the zoo will be delivered by Battle Creek-based Atlas Sales Inc., a three-generation beer distribution business that has donated its services to and volunteered for the zoo’s fundraiser for the past five years. The beers are Rochester Mills, Perrin Brewing, Right Brain Brewery, local Battle Creek brewery Territorial Brewing, and Blake’s Hard Cider.
“The Bonteboktoberfest is a great opportunity for us at Atlas Sales to bring together some of our favorite things in the community, and that’s our love for Binder Park Zoo and our passion for Michigan craft beers,” said Atlas Sales Vice President Bud Dunn. “Binder Park Zoo is truly a gem in our community, and our employees are always excited to donate and give back.”
Altogether, in three hours on Saturday, Atlas will deliver 55 cases and eight kegs of beer to help ensure hundreds of guests can sample their favorite Michigan craft beers.
Before the event even begins, two Atlas volunteers begin planning the event, including meeting and planning directly with zoo personnel. In addition to overseeing set-up at the zoo, Atlas works with its brewery partners to organize and attend the event so they can showcase their Michigan craft beers, provide samples and train volunteer servers. Atlas also provides draft wagons – delivered to the zoo two days earlier – to keep the beers cool.
The beers arrive the day before the Bonteboktoberfest. By 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event, Atlas and the zoo would have completed every detail, including doing test runs to ensure everything works as planned. On the day of the event, at least 10 Atlas volunteers attend the event to help out and support the fundraiser.
Atlas’ original contribution to the event: A VIP tent, where Atlas tech guru Mike Hall figured out how to stream football games directly using his iPad.
“This volunteer project is a real labor of love for our family and for me personally, because some of my earliest memories are of going to Binder Park Zoo,” said Dunn. “Our employees have fond memories of the zoo, and I’ve been volunteering at the zoo, helping zookeepers since I was 10. We really look forward to this event and we encourage everyone to come visit us on Bonteboktoberfest to support the best zoo in the region and have a ton of fun in the process.”
The fundraiser for zoo operations runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
About Atlas Sales Inc.
Atlas Sales, Inc. has been in operation as a family owned beverage distribution company since 1933, serving the Battle Creek and surrounding areas. The company was founded by Theron (Pick) Fagan. Atlas Sales was one of the first companies organized to distribute beer and wine when Prohibition ended in Michigan. During the past eight decades, the company has been located in five different warehouses that were ever larger and more modern. After Fagan’s death in 1983, Fagan’s wife Frankie Fagan took over. She then passed the business down to her son, Greg Dunn. In addition to providing quality beverages and services, Atlas today is a major employer in the Battle Creek area, with 26 employees, and is actively involved in numerous community charities, events, programs and other humanitarian causes.
— originally published by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.