Future Forward Drafts Bill to End Beer Brewing Oligopoly in Thailand

Thailand’s new left-wing Future Forward party has tabled legislation that would open up Thailand’s beer and spirit brewing regulations to allow small entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace.

As it stands now, only the rich are able to produce and manufacture alcohol in Thailand, thanks to regulations that essentially make it impossible for small craft brewers and upstart distillers to get into the game.

Specifically, amendments passed under the 1950 Liquor Control Act in 2000 (and strengthened in 2017), require those seeking brewing licenses to be able to produce up to 10 million liters of beer each year and have capital exceeding 10 million baht.

These regulations have produced a veritable stranglehold on the brewing marketplace in Thailand, with only a handful of domestic companies producing all the spirits and beers on Thai shelves.

Thailand’s domestic beer market is almost entirely owned by two ultra-wealthy families, behind the super popular beer brands Leo, Singha, and Chang.

The bill put forward by Future Forward party, dubbed the Progressive Breweries and Distilleries Act, seeks to end this oligopoly by allowing local brewers and distillers to produce their alcoholic beverages domestically.

Currently, craft brewers in Thailand are forced to manufacture their beer in other countries such as Cambodia, Australia, News Zealand, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

According to Future Forward party, forcing brewers to import their craft beers back into the Kingdom is the main reason why craft beers are so expensive in Thailand and why the craft beer craze hasn’t caught on with Thais as it has in other countries.

By passing their proposed law and opening up the beer and spirits market, Future Forward states that Thailand could see a 15-20 billion baht boost to the economy–mostly going to small businesses and Thai farmers.

Read the full story here.

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