The government’s order banning the drinking of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and other entertainment venues since January 4th in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 is estimated to affect more than 1 million entrepreneurs and employees and cost the industry 9 billion THB, says Thanakorn Kuptajit, secretary-general of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association (TABBA).
“The peak season for selling alcoholic beverages is between December and April, and this ban could result in a revenue loss of 30 per cent, across the whole industry, while the total market value could dip to 300 billion THB should the ban last until the end of 2021,” he said.
Thanakorn said the total market value of the alcoholic beverages industry by the end of 2018 was recorded at 370 billion THB for both domestic and imported beverages.
“The ban will affect not only business owners but also their employees and their families who rely on income from these venues. The association estimates that more than one million people could be affected,” he said.
“Furthermore, these businesses have already been suffering from the ban on selling alcohol via electronic channels, which came into effect on December 7th,” he pointed out.
Fearing that many alcohol sellers will be forced out of business with their sales channels, both online and at restaurants, being banned, Thanakorn suggested that the government should postpone or relax either ban temporarily.
“If the ban on drinking at restaurants cannot be lifted, then at least the government should allow alcohol sales online,” Thanakorn said.
“Online selling also complies with the government’s Covid-19 measures of maintaining social distance and reducing travel to crowded areas,” he said.
Thanakorn also said that most alcoholic beverages sold online are craft beer, with 60-70 per cent of entrepreneurs selling via online channels and only 30-40 per cent doing so from restaurants.
“These entrepreneurs, who have a total market share of Bt3 billion to Bt4 billion, are mostly start-ups and have limited sales channels to begin with. They had been hit the hardest since the ban on online selling came into effect,” he added