11 July 2024

Move Forward Party Leader Pita Limjaroenrat said today (Wednesday) that the government’s move to ease restrictions on the production of liquor and beer is intended to derail the party’s Progressive Liquor Bill, which is due to have its second and third readings in the House tomorrow.

On Tuesday, the cabinet agreed to issue an edict to ease restrictions on the production of beer and liquor, to allow individuals to produce them for consumption and commercial purposes. The edict became effective today.

In his Facebook post, Pita said that the Move Forward Party has been trying to push for the relaxation of the restrictions, including sending petitions to the Excise Department and through other channels, for the past several years, “but the only response from the government has been silence”. He also noted that MP, Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, who was once arrested for brewing his own craft beer, has been campaigning for the liberalisation of liquor production for about six years.

The government’s inaction on this issue, he said, means that the Move Forward Party had to initiate its Progressive Liquor Bill.

The Bill has passed its first reading, has been scrutinised by a House panel and is about to return to the House, said Pita, adding that he would have praised the government, had it issued the edict four years earlier, and not just the day before his party’s Bill is to be considered in the House.

The government’s sudden move can only be viewed as an attempt to derail the Move Forward Party’s Bill, said Pita, as he insisted that the government’s edict is not intended to “liberalise” liquor production, but “to build a new wall” to block new small producers.

He pointed to the several restrictions mentioned in the edict, such as production of more than 200 litres of liquor a year requiring a permit from the Excise Department, production for commercial purposes must register as a legal entity, each producer must be equipped with a production engine of five horse power and have seven employees for one year before its production capacity can be increased to 50 horse power and a brewpub or a pub which produces and sells beer must have a license from the Industrial Works Department.

Another restriction is that producers of special spirit or distilled beverages must have a minimum production capacity of 30,000 litres per annum or a minimum of 90,000 litres of other distilled beverages.