Cabinet approves changes to liquor regulations

Cabinet approves changes to liquor regulations

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Finance Ministry's amendment to ministerial regulations regarding the production of traditional liquor for non-commercial purposes and craft beer, ignoring the Move Forward Party's draft Progressive Liquor Bill.

According to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, the weekly cabinet meeting approved in principle the draft amendment to ministerial regulations regarding liquor production and annulled the ministerial regulations on liquor production permits from 2017.

The draft amendment calls for new criteria, methods and conditions relating to applications for production permits, he said.

"The current Excise Tax Act controls domestic liquor production, but some people see the existing regulations as too strict," said Mr Anucha.

"The new ministerial regulations are more lenient while ensuring health and safety for drinkers, preventing accidents caused by drinking liquor as well as protecting the environment."

Under the draft amendment, permits will be allowed for the production of two types of liquor: fermented and community-distilled liquor.

The amendment annuls all the requirements that call for investors who want to produce beer to have minimum registered capital of 10 million baht and a brewery that produces and sells its products on-site, requiring a minimum capacity of 100,000 litres per year and a maximum of 1 million litres per year.

Liquor production for non-commercial purposes is allowed for individuals age 20 or older as well as companies, provided the production gains prior approval from the Excise Department.

Production capacity cannot exceed 200 litres per year and products must comply with quality and environmental controls to ensure the safety of those who consume it.

For community liquor production that is now limited to a maximum of 5-horsepower machinery and no more than seven workers, the new ministerial regulation will allow the use of a maximum 50hp machinery and up to 50 workers.

Production for domestic consumption is not allowed to be sold or distributed to neighbours, while applications for the production permit should be filed with the area excise office.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the draft amendment would pave way for easier production of traditional liquor and support small community producers becoming mid-sized distillers.

This should lead to job creation and encourage the processing of farm produce to generate value-added products, as well as conserving local wisdom, said Mr Arkhom.

He said the amendment eliminates some limitations in the rules to support business operators expanding production capacity.

Mr Arkhom said the Excise Department still gives top priority to quality control as well as public health and environmental impact in the production process to ensure consumers will not be affected by products.

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