11 July 2024

The Prayut government on Tuesday moved to pre-empt the opposition’s bill to liberalize liquor production due for its second reading in the House of Representatives today by relaxing the ministerial regulations governing production of alcoholic drinks.

The Cabinet yesterday approved an amendment to the existing ministerial regulations that would make it easier for small-scale brewers and distillers to seek production licenses.

Government Spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the amendment removes the requirement for a minimum registered capital of 10 million baht for a license to produce beer, wine, sparkling wine and homebrew liquor.  It also removes the requirement for a minimum production of 100,000 litres a year for beer production.

It also makes it easier to set up small and medium-sized distilleries and for individuals over 20 and legal entities to get licenses to produce liquor not for commercial purposes.

The spokesman said the amendment, which comes into effect today,  is aimed at promoting competition in the liquor business while ensuring that the government’s excise tax collection will not be affected.

The amendment is widely seen as an attempt by the government to derail the opposition Move Forward party’s so-called liquor liberalization bill which is due to be taken up for its second and third reading by the House today.

“The bill is no longer necessary,” Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday when asked if the amendment of the regulations was designed to pre-empt the bill.