Beer-loving graduate arrested for brewing craft beer to sell

A law graduate who is passionate about craft beer had his microbrew start-up future halted by authorities.

The excise officials and police of Nonthaburi province raided a three-story shophouse in Bang Kra Sor yesterday. They found Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, 28, bottling his homebrew beer for customers. On the second and third floor, they found a fermenting room and boiling room, Matichon reported.

Taopiphop said that he started coming up with his own brewing recipes because of his passion for beer. After he graduated, he purchased equipment and ingredients to try it out. His university friends were the first ones to taste, and later buy, the beer. However, the first day he started selling the beer at THB150 per bottle, he was arrested.

Pradit Charnkolyut, the excise official of Nonthaburi, said that Taopiphop’s microbrew business breaches the Liquor Act B.E. 2493. The police arrested Taopiphop and seized the equipment, ingredients, and beer.

We’re sure that they didn’t drink it. They would never.

Taopiphop has been accused of making liquor without a license, owning liquor-brewing equipment without a license, and owning and selling liquor without duty stamps. The brewer admitted to not obtaining the liquor license, but denied two latter charges.

Thailand offers licenses to only two kinds of breweries: major breweries and brewpubs. Major breweries must be registered by a limited company with at least THB10 million in funds and they must produce at least 10 million liters of beer per year. Brewpubs must produce over 100,000 liters, but not exceed 1 million liters, and they are only allowed to serve their beer on the premises, meaning that it can’t be bottled and removed from the pub.

As a result, the few beer labels owned by giant breweries are able to dominate the entire beer market. For the moment, beer lovers who are looking for alternatives may have to stick with imported craft beer if they want to enjoy it at home. Meanwhile, local brewers are striving to have more recognition and find a solution to their limited possibilities for legal sales.

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