Bangkok 7-Elevens get a beer upgrade today

Bars and restaurants can’t serve, but Bar 7-Eleven remains open for takeaway, at least. Thanks to Thai craft beer makers Mahanakhon, their typically paltry selection just got better, too.

Starting today, the craft beer brand’s white ale will be available in 330ml cans (THB65) at 7-Elevens throughout Bangkok and neighboring provinces.

Unlike the usual mass market beers in Thailand, which are based on grain bills of rice and wheat, Mahanakhon’s unfiltered white ale is made with local ingredients like Job’s tears and oats to give it a naturally cloudy appearance, as well as spices like orange peel and coriander.

Getting a beer like this at 7-Eleven certainly counts as a coup (no pun intended).

While Thailand’s craft beer market has boomed over the past decade, the odds remain very much stacked against local beer makers – and importers, for that matter.

Dated and often draconian laws make entering the beer business in Thailand a Sisyphean venture – for example, blanket bans on alcohol sales, excessive import and excise duties, and towering barriers to entry that force brewers to produce over 1 million liters per year to be able to sell it in cans or bottles. Not to mention the market is dominated by just two conglomerates.

Mahanakhon began making beer in 20-liter batches in a garage. Their footprint has since expanded across the country to bars, supermarkets like Tops, and now 7-Eleven. Earlier this year, it introduced a new product, a white IPA, as well as a refreshed version of its pale ale.

Mahanakhon partner Avi Yashaya says they hope to get their white IPA in 7-Eleven early next year.

Maybe by then Thailand will have finally “considered” whether alcoholic beverages can be consumed in bars and restaurants again, too.

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