Beer in Thailand
Brewing beer in Thailand began in 1933 with the granting of a brewing license to 57-year-old Phya Bhirom Bhakdi, or "Boon Rawd" Sreshthaputra. His company, Boon Rawd Brewery would produce Thailand's oldest and best-known lager, Singha (pronounced "sing"). Singha is sold in Thailand in standard (5 percent ABV), light (3.5 percent ABV), and draught versions.
Singha largest competitor is Chang beer, made by Thai Beverages. Chang is noted globally for its sponsorship of Liverpool's Everton football club, as its name and logo have appeared on the team uniform since 2004.
The Thai Asia Pacific Brewery (TAPB) at its Nonthaburi plant, brews Heineken (since 1995), Tiger, and Cheers and Cheers X-Tra (6.5 percent ABV). It is the Thai importer of Guinness and Kilkenny.
Boon Rawd Brewery also makes Leo, a standard lager (5 percent ABV). In addition, Thai Beverages sells Archa, a mass-market, non-premium lager. Boon Rawd Brewery also sold a global brand Mittweida, but this was replaced by a beer brewed in partnership with InBev, Kloster. It also sells a 6.5 percent lager called Thai Beer.
Other locally brewed Thai beers are Phuket Beer and Siam, in Pathum Thani Province. The latter exports Bangkok Beer abroad, but does not sell it in Thailand. Phuket Beer and Federbrau are the only Thai beers brewed in accordance with the German purification law or Reinheitsgebot. Phuket Lager received the first gold medal ever for a beer from Thailand at the 2006 Monde Selection Awards.
Klassik beer is another local beer brewed in Pathum Thani Province.
Although foreign beers are popular within the country, the Thai government seeks to shelter its domestic breweries through the imposition of import duties up to 60 percent. In addition, all imported beers must bear an import sticker on their bottle caps. As a result, Thai brewers have struck partnership deals with Western brewers, such as Carlsberg's partnership with Thai Beverages (agreement since abrogated).
The beer market in Thailand in 2015 is expected to grow 3–4 percent to 180 billion baht.Singha Corporation is the market leader with a 72 percent share of the market. Thai Beverage has a 24 percent share, and Heineken 4 percent.Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and San Miguel (Thailand) Ltd. were reported to have market shares of 5 percent and 1 percent respectively in 2013.
Two types of licenses are available in Thailand for would-be beer producers. Thailand's 1950 Liquor Act states that beer can only be made in a factory making more than 1,000,000 litres per year or in a brewpub producing at least 100,000 litres per year for sale on-site with no bottling permitted. Brewpub beers cannot be sold off-premises. The finance ministry in 2000 ruled that, for either type of producer to be legal, they must be a limited company with capital of at least 10 million baht. The maximum penalty for "home brewing" under the 1950 Liquor Act used to be 200 baht for making it and 5,000 baht for selling it. A new law passed by the National Legislative Assembly in December 2016 raised the maximum penalty for illegal production to 100,000 baht or a prison sentence of six months, or both. The maximum fine for selling illegal beer was raised to 50,000 baht. To sell craft beers off-premises, one small brewer explained, "We have two choices: Either hire an overseas factory to make it or build a factory abroad on our own,..." and import it.
Meanwhile, military-controlled ASEAN neighbour Myanmar, in January 2017, got its first craft beer microbrewery, Burbrit. Its name is derived from "Burma" and "Britain", in recognition of British influence on Burma's brewing history.
Thai industrial breweries
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- Asia Pacific Breweries
- Boon Rawd Brewery
- Phuket Beer (San Miguel Brewery in Thailand, under supervision of Tropical Beverage Company.)
- San Miguel Brewery
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