MFP lawmaker takes aim at beer duopoly

MFP lawmaker takes aim at beer duopoly

Taopiphop Limjitrikorn, a Move Forward MP-elect who is one of the main driving forces behind the party’s “progressive alcohol bill”. (Photo: Reuters)
Taopiphop Limjitrikorn, a Move Forward MP-elect who is one of the main driving forces behind the party’s “progressive alcohol bill”. (Photo: Reuters)

A beer-loving MP-elect once arrested for illegal brewing is hoping the Move Forward Party’s election victory can help him break up Thailand's alcohol duopoly.

Brewer-turned-politician Taopiphop Limjittrakorn has been fighting to overhaul strict regulations for years, taking on Boon Rawd Brewery and ThaiBev.

After winning the most seats in the May 14 electon, Move Forward this week reached an agreement with coalition partners that includes measures to “abolish monopolies and promote fair competition in all industries, such as alcoholic beverages”.

Mr Taopiphop, 34, gave an interview at his Taopiphop Bar Project on Charoen Rat Road.

Boon Rawd, which makes Singha and Leo beers, and ThaiBev, the brewer of Chang, did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.

Boon Rawd is owned and controlled by the Bhirombhakdi family, the country’s 15th richest, according to Forbes magazine. ThaiBev was founded by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, ranked by Forbes as the country’s third-richest person with a net worth of $14 billion.

More than half of the country’s alcoholic drinks market, valued at about 470 billion baht in 2020, consists of beer.

Boon Rawd controls a 57.9% share of the beer market followed by Singapore-listed ThaiBev at 34.3% and Thai Asia Pacific Brewery at 4.7%, according to a February 2022 report by Krungsri Research.

Mr Taopiphop said he was aiming to remove barriers for the alcohol industry that favour big firms like Boon Rawd and ThaiBev.

The aim would be help small domestic brewers gain at least 10% of the beer market within a decade, he said.

“I’m not an extremist,” he said. “I want to drink good beer.”

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  • abolish: to officially get rid of a law, system, practice, etc. - ยกเลิก
  • barrier (noun): anything that prevents people from doing something - อุปสรรค
  • booze: (informal) alcoholic drink - เครื่องดื่มที่มีแอลกอฮอล์ (คำไม่เป็นทางการ)
  • brewer: a company that makes beer or a place where beer is made - โรงงานต้มเหล้า
  • coalition: a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together - การร่วมรัฐบาล
  • duopoly: a situation in which two companies dominate an industry -
  • extremist: a person or group whose opinions, especially about religion or politics, are extreme, and who may do things that are violent, illegal, etc. for what they believe - พวกหัวรุนแรง,ผู้นิยม
  • favour (verb): to give an advantage to someone or something, often in an unfair way - เอื้อ, ช่วยเหลือ
  • market (noun): business or trade, or the amount of trade in a particular type of goods - ตลาด, กลุ่มผู้ซื้อ, ความต้องการสินค้า
  • monopoly: complete control over something by one organization or person - ระบบผูกขาด
  • overhaul: to improve something so that every part of it works properly - ปรับปรุงใหม่
  • regulations: official rules that control the way that things are done - ระเบียบปฏิบัติ
  • sector: a part of a country’s economic or business activity - ภาค (เศรษฐกิจ)
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