Two acts that regulate the manufacturing, import and sale of alcoholic beverages in Thailand are the Liquor Act of 1950 and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act of 2008. According to these, in Thailand alcohol is divided into distilled spirits and un-distilled spirits. Distilled spirits are alcoholic drinks with alcohol volume more than 15 percent (like vodka, rum, or brandy) and un-distilled spirits are alcoholic drinks with alcohol volume less than 15 percent (like wine or beer).
Importers are required to apply for an alcohol license with the Ministry of Finance (Excise Department), which monitors the alcohol industry in Thailand, if their intentions are to:
• Produce alcohol and possess related equipment
• Import of more than one liter of alcohol
• Transport of untaxed alcohol from the factory
• Transport of more than ten liters of alcohol
• Transport of more than one liter but less than ten liters of alcohol between specified territories (provinces)
• Sell alcohol products wholesale and/or retail
To legally sell alcohol in Thailand, pubs, bars, restaurants, distillers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, hotels, clubs, liquor stores, and any other place serving alcohol must obtain an alcohol license. The applicant must file an application with the Excise office located in the district where the business is located.
The alcohol license is valid for 1 year and must be renewed annually before its expiration.
After the alcohol license has been obtained, the license holder may sell alcohol within the specific place, date, and time prescribed by the law.
The Liquor Act prohibits license holders to sell alcoholic beverages:
• To people younger than 20 years or those people that lose their consciousness when they drink
• Between 12 pm and 11 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm
• On significant religious holidays
• In close proximity of schools, religious areas, and gas stations
Selling alcohol without license constitutes a violation of the Thai laws and regulations and the operator will be punished by a maximum fine of 100,000 Baht.
Once the alcohol license is obtained, the license holder can apply for a storage license. An official from the Excise department will inspect the storage facility prior to issuing the license. The storage license is valid for 1 year and must be renewed annually.