The provincial public health office in Phitsanulok is seeking to prosecute Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada for publicising craft beer.
The office is acting as the law enforcement agency under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act in the case against Mr Padipat, who is also a Move Forward MP from the province.
Dr Nipon Chinanonvech, director of the Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee, said other parties had filed similar complaints against Mr Padipat over a video that circulated on social media showing him raising a glass of craft beer supposedly produced in Phitsanulok.
Mr Padipat has denied the video was an advertising stunt. He also criticised the ban on promoting craft beer, saying it was deterring local brewers from spreading the word about their products.
It was later reported that the beer in question was being produced on an industrial scale in another province.
The Move Forward Party has been outspoken in its support of small-scale brewers and distillers. It has championed what it called a Progressive Liquor Bill that would remove some of the impediments in the current laws, which effectively prevent all but a handful of giant players from competing successfully.
Last week, political activist Srisuwan Janya submitted a petition with the Department of Disease Cntrol against Mr Padipat.
Mr Srisuwan said the law bars politicians from committing any act intended to persuade people to drink alcohol. The offence is punishable by up to a year in prison, a maximum fine of 500,000 baht, or both.
Numerous people, including some celebrities, have been brought to book for posting pictures of themselves with a glass or bottle of their favourite tipple, on their personal social media. If a label, logo or brand name is visible, fines can range from 50,000 to 500,000 baht.
Media outlets routinely receive warnings from authorities if they carry pictures or video in their news reports of alcoholic beverages with product labels.
Dr Nipon said the provincial public health office had written to the governor of Phitsanulok to inform him about the case of Mr Padipat.
A similar letter was sent to other agencies including the provincial excise office. They might also lodge a legal complaint against Mr Padipat if they establish that he has broken any law they have a duty to enforce.
“Once we’ve finished interviewing witnesses, we might invite the MP to provide information,” Dr Nipon said.