11 July 2024

Pubs which brew their own craft beers will benefit the most from the government’s new edict on alcoholic beverages and their number is expected to increase, while small investors who want to produce liquor or beer will find it difficult to enter the market, due to new restrictions imposed by the edict, according to a professor who specialises in the liquor industry.

Assistant Professor Charoen Charoenchai, of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology at the Rajamangala University of Thanyaburi, told Thai PBS that the edict gives an impression that the state has removed several restrictions, allowing individuals to produce alcoholic beverages for household consumption and commercial purposes, in an attempt to break up the liquor production oligopoly.

For instance, he said that restrictions on minimum registered capital and minimum amount of production have been lifted for new investors, but some new restrictions were introduced, such as the requirement for new investors to conduct environmental impact assessment studies and install standard machinery which records tax payments for the alcoholic beverages they produce.

These will make it difficult for small investors to enter the business, unless they have strong financial backing, said Charoen.

He noted, however, that brew pubs which sell their craft beer at their venues will benefit from the changes.

He anticipates that more brew pubs will be set up in the future, as he praised the government for being smart byconvincing people to feel that it has opened up the liquor industry to small investors while, in reality, the situation remains unchanged for small investors.

He also said that the edict will not reduce the prices of liquor or beer, because taxes charged on them remain unchanged and, if prices are to be cut, the profits of the producers will reduce accordingly.

The edict came into force on Wednesday.