Beer Brewing Only for the Ultra-rich under Thai Law

Future Forward Party MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn (pictured right)

An MP recently took Deputy Finance Minister Santi Prompat to task for Thailand laws that essentially restricts brewing and selling beer a privilege of the ultra-wealthy in the Kingdom.

The law, passed in 2000 under the 1950 Liquor Control Act, protects a few massive beer companies in Thailand from any competition from startup craft brewers by requiring that anyone seeking a brewing license must be able to produce up to 10 million liters of beer each year and have capital exceeding 10 million baht.

Progressive Future Forward Party MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn questioned the deputy finance minister as to why a regulation that blocks small breweries from entering the 180 billion baht beer market is still in place, other than to protect the existing beer oligopoly in Thailand.

Before becoming an MP, Taopiphop himself was arrested in 2017 for brewing and selling craft beer under the restrictive beer law.

The deputy minister trotted out the standard talking points pushed by the few giant beer companies in Thailand that claim the regulation is needed to ensure brewed beer meets quality standards.

Taopiphop argued that government agencies could easily regulate both small and large brewing companies the same as they regulate small and large food and beverage manufacturers.

Under the current law, the few Thai small-batch beer companies are forced to operate in surrounding countries and subject to heavy import fees on their beers.

In Thailand, it’s not uncommon for policies to favor the ultra-rich and big corporations and is at least partially responsible for two-thirds of all wealth in the country belonging to the top 1%.

Read the full story here.

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