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  1. #1
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    Alcohol control bill - Producers protest at Parliament House

    Small producers up in arms over new alcohol control bill

    A group of home-made distilled spirit and Thai wine producers yesterday poured their liquor on the ground in front of Parliament House to protest against the new alcohol control bill, which they said will put them out of business



    They delivered a letter of protest to the National Legislative Assembly committee considering the proposed law.

    Their protest rally followed an earlier forum titled "The Crisis of Local Distilled Spirit and Thai Wine Industry under the New Alcohol Control Act". It was organised by the Network of Local Distilled Spirit and Thai Wine Producers and the Federation on Alcohol Control of Thailand.

    The forum was told the proposed law would impact more than 8,000 individual producers engaged in home-made distilled spirit and wine in 86 areas of the country, and lead to debts amounting to more than Bt16 billion. It would also leave 100,000 people working in the industry jobless.

    About 50 of the distilled spirit and Thai wine producers then rallied in front of Parliament House to pour their liquor on the ground in protest.

    "Home-made distilled spirits and Thai wines were encouraged as one of Thailand's popular OTOP products back in 2002," said Thai Wine and Distilled Spirit Association secretary Somboon Kaewkriengkrai. "However, the industry has been challenged by the economic downturn and the government has stopped its support for small producers. The number of active producers has fallen steeply from more than 10,000 in 2003 to less than 2,000 today. Many of them run their businesses at a loss and are burdened by many debts."

    He said many small producers have been prevented by giant liquor producers from entering their dealers' outlets and even general grocery shops.

    Charoen Charoenchai, the dean of the Faculty of Home Economics Technology at Rajamangala University of Technology at Thanyaburi, who is also a wine and spirit expert, said most producers of home-made distilled spirits and wine sell their products in their own communities and at some trade fairs, including OTOP fairs, as well as through mobile sales.

    "If the new alcohol control act is implemented, small home-made producers will be prohibited from selling their products at fairs or even using their mobile sales force. They will be attacked by big producers, who will shift their marketing and advertising budgets to dump their prices," Charoen said, adding small producers of local wine and distilled spirits would finally die out. Many, however, will first turn to producing and selling illegal liquor and the government will face the difficulty of controlling the situation.

    The Thai Wine Association, which consists of major grape-wine manufacturers, also urged the authorities yesterday to review the proposed total ban on advertising alcoholic drinks, which it said would destroy the Bt500-million domestic wine industry.

    Key members of the association are major local brands Chateau de Loei, Mae Chan Valley, Shala One, Chateau Des Brumes, Granmonte and PB Valley.

    Association president Visooth Lohitnavy said Thai wine-makers need advertising and other marketing activities to build their brands, to compete with imported wine products.

    The proposed advertising ban will block all information between Thai wine producers and their customers and will prohibit the exhibition of local wine products at trade fairs, as well as ban wine tasting. It would even lead Thai customers to rely only on imported wines, which are better established in the local market, he said.

    Imported wines now hold almost a 90-per-cent share of the local industry.


    Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
    The Nation

  2. #2
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    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    A group of home-made distilled spirit and Thai wine producers yesterday poured their liquor on the ground in front of Parliament House
    Better than drinking it I suppose...

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