11 July 2024

The government has defended its liquor policy, as announced in an edict which came into force today (Wednesday), insisting that it is in the public interest, will put an end to the current oligopoly and is not intended to wrong-foot the opposition Move Forward Party as alleged.

The essence of the edict is to allow individuals to produce liquor for household consumption and for commercial purposes if they wish, said Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana today.

She explained that it will promote fair competition, equal market access and protect the health and safety of consumers by ensuring that the liquor products are up to standard.

The edict will protect local wisdom, increase job opportunities in communities and will enable the state to collect taxes from the producers, she added.

Tipanan said individuals who want to set up a small or medium-sized enterprise to produce liquor or beer will no longer be required to have a minimum of 10 million baht as registered capital and the requirement for production capacity, from 0.1 million litres to 1 million litres per annum is lifted.

The SMEs are, however, required to meet health safety and environmental standards and the production machinery must meet the requirements set by the Excise Department, she explained.

There are no limits on registered capital or production capacities for large scale producers either, but they must meet the health, safety and environmental protection requirements, as well print labels showing the amount of taxes, she said.

The deputy government spokesperson said that the Move Forward Party’s Progressive Liquor Bill, which seeks to enable individuals to produce liquor for household consumption by just notifying the authorities about details of their products, production process and output, may contain loopholes leading to substandard products that may prove harmful to consumers.

As such, the government decided to issue the edict to ensure that consumers and the environment are protected.

She then criticised Move Forward Party Leader Pita Limjaroenrat, saying that he should give priority to the public interest, rather than the interests of the party.