New Thai alcohol laws come into effect from January


In Thailand, companies selling alcohol, such as wine shops and beer merchants, will no longer be able to continue selling alcohol in some parts of the country from January the 1st 2016. Due to a ban on the sale of alcohol within 300 metres of schools or temples, many companies face going out of business or forced to relocate come the New Year. Such firms that resist the changes and push their luck may find that they could fall foul of the upcoming changes.

One such establishment in popular resort town of Hua Hin is Mondo Vino, a popular wine seller that is having to adhere to the new rules. Peter Kirketerp, Director of Mondo Vino recently said recently:

You may have noted, that stock levels have been very limited in the last few months as we have had notice of the new Law for some time already and worked with this knowledge to reduce stock, and therefore, we will now curtail normal operation of Mondo Vino effective as from today including retail and whole sale business.

The new ban will prohibit the sale of alcoholic drinks within 300 metres of any school, and will apply to grocery stores and convenience stores, but not wholesale facilities, according to an article in the Bangkok Post earlier this year.

The laws were created after a meeting of the National Alcohol Drinks Policy Board in 2015, but there will be some exceptions – such as where schools are located near hotels or restaurants in special entertainment zones such as Bangkok’s Patpong area.

The ban is also said to come with increased educational measures about the risks of drinking. “To make the rule more effective, educational institutions will be asked to instill in students’ conscience about the dangers of drinking”, said Thailand’s public health minister Rajata Rajatanavin when the ban was announced.

Back in Hua Hin, the forthcoming closure of companies such as Mondo Vino is a sad loss. It’s not yet certain whether establishments such as bars located near temples across Thailand will be forced to close from January, or whether the rules include a degree of flexbility.