Beervana Trading, a craft beer delivery company reported today that it’s been fined THB 50,000 (USD 1,590) for allegedly violating Thailand’s Alcohol Beverage Control Act. The company warned other companies via a facebook post and is also petitioning for the law to be abolished, claiming it’s hurting businesses that are already struggling during the Covid-19 crisis.
Regulatory authorities in Thailand have last week summoned more than 400 people and organizations involved with the craft beer business for posting photos of the brew on social media.
Background is section 32 of the Thailand’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Act of 2008 that prohibits to “advertise or display, directly or indirectly, name or trademark of alcoholic beverage in a manner that showing properties thereof or inducing other person to drink.” Violations of the act are punishable by a THB 50,000-500,000 fine (USD 1,590-15,900) and a one-year jail term.
Six craft beer associations also lodged a complaint with the House of Representatives’ Public Health Commission on Thursday saying that the law is unclear and violates their right to communicate with customers. In addition, they argue that their industry is especially suffering from the measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic including a temporary closure of bars and restaurants, the ban on sale of alcoholic beverages and an ongoing curfew at 11 p.m. complainants
Supapong Preunglampoo, the associations' representative asked authorities for a lenient assessment of their misconduct. “In the time of difficulties from the COVID-19 outbreak, we would like to ask Thai authorities to look at alcoholic beverages from another viewpoint, not just with health or security concerns.”
“There are many people working in this sector struggling to survive here,” says Supapong Preunglampoo.
Thai Alcohol Prevention Network has directly responded to Beervana’s Facebook post. Its spokesman Chuwit Chantaras issued a press statement and said the company doesn’t understand the importance of the act.
Since pubs and clubs have been shuttered since the end of March and restaurants are still not permitted to sell alcohol at their premises, many businesses are resorting to illegal ways of selling alcohol. These methods include promotions and special deals on particular brands, which violate the act and could make it easier for underage drinkers to get their hands on alcohol.
It’s not the first time that officials investigate about social media posts concerning alcohol. In 2017, Thai Police said it will monitor social media to punish any actors, “net idols”, or celebrities who pose messages and pictures inviting others to drink alcoholic beverages. At that time, a study found that approximately 30 per cent of people started to drink alcohol after seeing images of their favorite celebrities posed with drinks.