Thai Government Prohibits the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages Online

On August 7th, 2020, a regulation prohibiting the sale and advertisement of alcoholic beverages online (the “Announcement”) was issued by the Prime Minister’s office under Thailand’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Act B.E. 2551 (the “Act”). The Announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister re: Prohibition of the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages by Electronic Methods or Means was published in the Government Gazette on September 8th, 2020, and will take effect on December 7th, 2020.

The Announcement prohibits the following: 

1.   The sale of alcoholic beverages, and the provision of related services, directly to the consumer via electronic channels.
2.   Any actions considered to be inducing the consumer to purchase alcoholic beverages, or related services, through marketing activities conducted via electronic platforms, wherein such information is communicated electronically and the consumer and the seller do not meet in person.

The Announcement will not apply to the sale and purchase of alcoholic beverages by electronic means at physical stores, restaurants, or other places providing alcoholic beverages. 

The advertisement of alcohol in Thailand is strictly regulated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and its related notifications, which prohibit the promotion of alcoholic beverages (i.e. in a way that is deemed to persuade others to purchase it), as well as their product names and trademarks, in all forms of advertising media, including both print and electronic means. The Act’s scope is rather broad and ambiguous, and it would seem that in addition to prohibiting the online sale and purchase of alcohol, the Announcement is an attempt to clarify and update advertising restrictions to specifically include modern-day methods of marketing via social media platforms, websites, and other online channels.

Government Gazette
8 September 2563 B.E.
Announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister re: Prohibition of the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages by Electronic Methods or Means B.E. 2563

Nowadays, technology is constantly evolving, as reflected in the cases of store operators, shops and merchants using electronic and online channels to sell alcoholic beverages. Such changes in technology make it difficult to regulate and monitor the date, time, place and purchaser of such alcoholic beverages as pursuant to the applicable law. Therefore, in order to prevent the youth from having easy access to alcoholic beverages and to reduce the effects that arise from the consumption and purchase of such alcoholic beverages, it is necessary to issue announcements to establish legal measures to control the sale of such beverages in accordance with the circumstances pursuant to Section 4 and Section 30 (6) of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, B.E. 2551. Thus, the Prime Minister, on the advice of the National Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee, issued the Announcement as follows:

Section 1   No person shall sell or provide services regarding alcoholic beverages through electronic platforms directly to consumers. Such prohibition includes any actions in the manner of inviting or suggesting the purchase or the provision of services regarding alcoholic beverages directly to consumers through marketing activities that involve the communication of such information through any electronic platforms, without the consumers and sellers meeting in person.

Section 2   This announcement is not applicable to the sale, purchase, and payment for alcoholic beverages by electronic means at a store, restaurant, or other physical places where alcoholic beverages are provided.

Section 3   This announcement shall come into force 90 days from the date of publication in the Government Gazette.

Announced on 7 August 2563 B.E.

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