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The Excise Department made clear yesterday that beer garden operators are allowed to sell alcoholic drinks once a year and the business is not against the law.
This was revealed by the director general of the Excise Department Mr Somchai Poonsawat after the Office of Alcoholic Drinks Control Committee director Dr Samarn Futrakul came out to say beer garden is against the alcoholic drinks control law and say the Excise Department is authorised to close such business operation.
But Mr Somchai said beer garden operation is legal as it is granted licence by the Excise Department under the 1950 Alcoholic Drink Law.
He said the law allows temporary selling all kinds of alcoholic drinks at beer garden once a year, or all locally produced alcoholic drinks at no more than 10 litres a year and no more than 10 days.
Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayathorn, meanwhile, also voiced agreement that beer garden opening is permitted by law.
However he said authorities were looking into the amended 2008 Alcoholic Drinks Law again to see the exact scope of its enforcement so that operators would not exploit it.
Earlier yesterday Dr Samarn Futrakul, director of the Office of Alcoholic Drinks Control Committee stated that beer gardens which are popular during yearend’s festive season are against the law.
His statement has caused confusion among beer manufacturers which usually set up beer gardens to attract customers during the festive season.
Dr Samarn said that usually movie stars, singers and wellknown entertainers were hired by beer producers to promote their beer brands at beer gardens.
In the past, he said that health officials could at best seize beers from beer gardens but were unable to close down the establishments as that is within the authority of the Excise Department.
Citing the law, Dr Samarn insisted that opening beer gardens amount to advertising alcoholic drinks which is prohibited.