Remember the brief firestorm surrounding 7-Eleven’s flirtation with selling draft beer last year? That’s apparently not going to happen again any time soon.
A new law that went into effect today prohibits the selling of draft beer on tap at convenience stores nationwide — something that quite literally no one is currently doing anyway.
The new law, announced in the Government Gazette yesterday, will officially prevent stores such as 7-Eleven from dipping their toes back into the draft beer market, after they started selling fresh beer from dispensers and had to quickly cancel the service due to controversy.
The decision to ban the selling of beer from dispensers at convenience stores was reached on June 1, according to the government’s announcement, and was primarily driven by fears related to the availability of alcohol to youth.
Violators would be charged under two sections of the Alcohol Act. Prosecuted together, they could equal up to a year in prison and/or a fine of THB20,000 (US$600).
Just to be clear, this doesn’t affect the selling of good old bottled and canned beers. You’re still fine sipping that Singha out of a paper bag.
In October of last year, 7-Eleven faced criticism after it came to light that they were selling draft beer from Leo dispensers for a very reasonable THB49 (US$1.5) a cup. It subsequently pulled the machines from all 18 stores using the draft beer dispensers after Alcohol Watch Network, an anti-drinking group, staged a protest outside their headquarters.
The group declared at the time that the decision to sell draft beer at 7-Eleven was “highly inappropriate” and people should consume alcohol in “proper” locations such as bars and restaurants.
Following the controversy, Family Mart, who had been quietly selling their Chang beer for five months, pulled the plug on their service as well, issuing a statement that said the company “does not encourage drinking.” Well, not now at least.