The Move Forward Party’s (MFP) recent proposal to promote alcoholic beverage production by local makers throughout Thailand has generated significant interest, with individuals from various regions expressing their desire to become producers. A lecturer at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan highlighted that Thailand’s alcoholic beverages industry has an estimated annual value of 400 billion baht, with a majority of the market share held by major producers. He argued that amending the law to allow local producers to sell alcohol would distribute income to communities.
Bhuchiss Tanwanichkul, an expert in Western beverages production at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan Khonkaen Campus, emphasized that MFP’s liquor policy would create opportunities for local individuals to become producers of alcoholic drinks. He mentioned that the government sector would need to revise laws to facilitate the entry of small producers into the industry. Additionally, these new producers would require knowledge about raw materials and the correct and safe manufacturing processes. Bhuchiss stressed the importance of prioritizing consumer safety and suggested that relevant agencies should be involved in all stages of production, from upstream to downstream, including the development of both hard liquor and beer.
Bhuchiss further explained that legalizing community-made liquor or craft beer would stimulate economic growth. He highlighted the need for relevant agencies to quickly provide producer communities with expertise in food science, particularly in food processing through fermentation. Thailand’s year-round abundance of fruits presents an opportunity to add value to these fruits. As an example, he mentioned the Ban Haet golden mangos in Khon Kaen, which are on the verge of receiving geographical indicator registration. Currently, the mangos that do not meet quality requirements are sold at low prices, but if used in the production of community-made liquor, their value could increase by 5-10 times.
Responding to concerns about potential increases in drink-and-drive accidents resulting from the promotion of small liquor producers, Bhuchiss noted that the type of alcoholic beverage involved would need to be determined. He also mentioned that it remains uncertain whether the availability of brews from small producers would lead to more people consuming alcohol. However, he emphasized that this move would offer consumers a greater variety of choices.