Doug May, Lion’s Trade Relations Director, and all-round legend has announced his retirement, with his last day coming at the end of April.

May told TheShout that he was looking forward to his retirement and that he decided there were still a few things he wanted to do, while he still could.

“I’m happy that I’m able to leave Lion on my own terms,” May said. “I’m going to buy a farm, have a few head of cattle and enjoy my retirement,” he said.

May has worked with Lion for 21 years, and in that time has proved to be a popular person across the industry, with many people happy to wish him well with his future endeavours.

James Brindley, Managing Director of Lion, told TheShout: “Doug has been selfless and tireless in his work for our great industry, for Lion, and for his customers and colleagues. I cannot thank him enough for his contribution.

“It has been a wonderful experience to work alongside him, to learn from him and to share many of the enjoyable moments this vibrant and dynamic industry has to offer. As Doug moves on, I must admit to feeling a sense of loss. His presence at Lion will be sorely missed. He is a good friend and worthy of the title of ‘Legend of the Industry’ bestowed by the Drinks Industry Association members in 2010.”

That sentiment was one echoed across the industry.

Shane Tremble, General Manager Corporate Services at Endeavour Drinks Group, said: “Doug understands that one of the great strengths of our industry is its people, he built a network of friends, colleagues and relationships that covered every sector of the drinks industry and he earned the respect of all of us. He has always been a great ambassador for his business and for his brands, and a great advocate for his customers.

“Doug is one of the true gentlemen of the industry, I won’t say he’ll be sorely missed because I suspect I’ll keep bumping into him at the races.”

“It’s the end of an era,” said Brett Heffernan, CEO of the Brewers Association. He added: “Doug is a living legend in beer and, after 40 years in the industry – 21 with Lion – he’s has not only earned the right to move on to the next stage of life but does so with the gratitude and best wishes of all across the beer world.”

The good wishes also came from competitors, with Peter Filipovic, CEO of Carlton & United Breweries telling TheShout: “Doug May’s passion for the industry and the customers that sell our beer is exceptional. Not only is he a great advocate for Lion, his support of the broader beer category, especially the perfect pour in the on-premise sector, has been a highlight over the time I have known him.

“Doug has an infectious personality, a great sense of humour and is a great entertainer. Wishing you all the best for the next chapter in your life. You will be sorely missed in the industry.”

Warwick Brook, NSW & ACT State Manager for De Bortoli, agreed that May will be missed by the industry. “Doug is absolutely a true gentleman of the Australian liquor industry. He has been held in the highest esteem for the 30 years that he has been part of this industry. When it comes to representing a brand, Doug is the absolute pinnacle and he will be sorely missed, not only as a colleague but also as a friend. All the best mate.”

Shane Richardson, the Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil, told TheShout: “Doug, congratulations on a stellar career with Lion and an incredibly well respected one within our industry. Although we have competed against each other over many, many years it has always been a pleasure enjoying a beer with you.

“You have been an honourable stalwart of both Lion and the industry and I wish you all the best in your retirement.”

Part of May’s role with Lion has seen him attending conferences and expos around the world representing the brewery to many associations.

The Australian Hotels Association NSW and National President Scott Leach, told TheShout: “Every now and then our industry is fortunate to uncover an individual with a genuine and unique love for people and hospitality.

“Over a truly stellar career Doug May has always put his customers, his employer and the industry first.

“A gentleman, an entertainer, a friend. While not lost to the industry, his decision to retire will leave many feeling like a giant has fallen.”

May also worked alongside the Australian Liquor Stores Association, now Retail Drinks Australia, with Chief Operating Officer, Michael Waters giving his regards.

“The Association, formerly LSA NSW and ALSA, now Retail Drinks Australia, has enjoyed a long, respectful friendship with Doug spanning several decades – it’s one that we will cherish and remember fondly.

“Quite simply put, there has never been, nor will there ever be another Doug May. He is known and respected by all and his professional legacy will be long remembered. On behalf of the Retail Drinks board and management, we wish Doug a long, happy and healthy retirement.”

ALSA’s retired CEO Terry Mott, also wished May well, saying: “Congratulations Doug on having reached this huge milestone. Doug has been a larger than life character in the industry, who played a big role for and was always very loyal to Lion and was also very supportive of the role played by ALSA and the State Liquor Stores Associations in the retail and regulatory environment over many years.

“He must have set the all-time record for attendances (and photos) at industry awards functions, dinners and conferences – always with that characteristic big grin, ready for yet another photo opportunity. Enjoy your next chapter Doug.”

Deborah Jackson, Editor of National Liquor News is another one who is sad to see May leaving the industry, while also being very happy for him.

“Doug May is a true icon of the liquor industry and is going to be sorely missed. Doug, I’ll never forget our first meeting at the 2015 ALSA Conference in Darwin and I can’t thank you enough for your friendship over the years and the support you’ve given to both myself and to National Liquor News.

“I’m just sad that you’re retiring before I was ever able to convince you to dress up at ALIA, I really thought that 2019 was going to be the year. You’re an absolute legend and the industry will not feel the same without you. I wish you all the best in your retirement and hope to cross paths with you again in the future.”

On a personal note, I echo everything that has been said about May, he has always been an absolute delight to work with and to bump into at any event. He is an incredibly generous man with his time, his contacts and his experience. I’ll miss you Doug and sincerely hope you have a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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