NONTHABURI — A man arrested for making and selling beer at home was fined 5,000 baht and received a one-year, suspended sentence Tuesday afternoon.
The Nonthaburi district court in northern metro Bangkok found Taopiphop Limjittrakorn guilty on two counts: producing alcohol without a license and possessing the equipment to do so.
The 28-year-old tour guide was arrested Saturday at his shophouse where he was selling his home-brewed beer.
Taopiphop’s father, Pandit Lim, was at the court showing his support with a T-shirt for his son’s Taopiphop Ale Project.
“The law should definitely be changed. I was in Germany 30 years ago, and there were 20,000 kinds of beer, in contrast with Thailand which only had Singha at the time,” he said.
Making beer or any alcohol outside of a factory or licensed brew pub is illegal, but that hasn’t stopped a burgeoning craft beer scene from getting to work with yeast, hops and barley.
“This is the first case that got so much attention,” Taopiphop, 28, said Tuesday morning at the police station while awaiting his day in court. “The ones before this went quietly.”
Upon his arrest, he originally faced two additional charges: selling alcoholic drinks not labeled with paper excise tax stamps and possessing alcoholic drinks not labeled with paper excise tax stamps.
Taopiphop contested those, saying he wasn’t obligated to label his bottles with them. The court kicked them out.
On Tuesday, representatives from the excise department were joking with Taopiphop that they wanted to try his beer.
Taopiphop said despite what was reported, Saturday was not the first day he began operation, as he had been brewing for some time. He said he only sold his bottles for 100 baht and not 150 baht as reported.
He also said he built his home bar, the Taopiphop Bar Project, by crowdfunding the money. The beer tap there, where he served his Zombeavers pale ale and Thammada beer, operated for “free,” with patrons making “donations,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that Taopiphop was jailed Saturday. While he was arrested, he remained free until his appearance in court Tuesday.