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Meet Michael DiLonardo of Atlanta Beer Festivals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael DiLonardo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started out my early career as a Financial Advisor but after a few years I realized that path wasn’t for me. I thought I might want to open a restaurant so I started managing a few local restaurants to learn about the business. In 2008 I was working at Front Page News and decided to put on a small beer festival in the parking lot of the Little 5 Points location. We had about 700 attendees and I really enjoyed the process behind putting on the event. Each summer the crowd was getting larger and larger and we soon moved to The Masquerade for more space. In 2010 I decided to take the leap to put on beer festivals full time and haven’t looked back since. Over the years, we’ve added more and more events and in 2015 we ventured into wine festivals which we hold three times a year. In 2016 we held our first Atlanta Brunch Festival which was very popular and we have a few more big ideas we’re working on. We look forward to announcing them soon!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggle is typically whether we can sell as many tickets as we want to. It’s all dependent on other activities occurring that day, the weather, if it’s a first time event, and other factors we can’t control.

Another challenge is making sure we have the right amount of product- we don’t want to run out too soon, but we also don’t want to have too much that it goes to waste.

Each event is different and we always learn something new or realize what we can do better for next time. At the end of the day, we want each patron to have a great experience at our events so we do what we can to ensure that happens.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Atlanta Beer Festivals story. Tell us more about the business.
Atlanta Beer Festivals currently has 14 events lined up for 2017. We specialize in making sure our patrons enjoy a fun day out with their friends or family while trying new beers and/or wines, listening to great music, playing games, and making new friends.

We are most proud of the way we handle the logistics of our events. There are so many moving pieces to putting on an event and we feel we’ve gotten it down to a science. We have a great, loyal team who works well together and is constantly figuring out how to be more efficient and productive for the next event.

The biggest compliment we get is when volunteers, patrons, vendors, and breweries complement our events in comparison to other festivals they’ve attended. We know there’s a lot of other festivals out there and we strive to be at the top.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather for our events. A big rainstorm or freezing temperatures is always a potential disaster when we’re setting up or looking for extra ticket sales at the door. Nothing can halt a great event faster than a tornado warning, potential snow, or any other bad weather forecast, so we know we’re lucky in that regard.

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