Myanmar. Carlsberg leads petition against draught beer crackdown

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Representing around 4500 bars and restaurants, Carlsberg Myanmar plans to send a petition to the government by the end of August, in protest against a recent crackdown on serving draught beer without the right papers, a company spokesperson said.

Beer stations across the country have received letters from the General Administration Department warning that the FL17 licence – the standard alcohol retail licence – does not cover draught beer sales.

Of around 7000 beer stations serving draught beer only 2500 hold the right licence – FL9 or FL10 – while the home affairs ministry, which is responsible for issuing these licences, said it will not issue any more “for now”.

This has caused alarm among beer station owners, who have been allowed to sell draught beer under their FL17 licence for years, and believe their customers will go elsewhere if they stop selling beer on tap.

Anthony Clark, managing director of Myanmar Carlsberg Company said he would support his customers by petitioning on their behalf.

“One of our ambitions at Myanmar Carlsberg is to be the most professional brewer in Myanmar,” he said. “This includes providing the best customer service of all the brewers and also being ready to support our customers when they need our help, such as when they face these types of difficulties.”

Mr Clark said the letter will ask the Minister of Home Affairs, Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe, to lift the restrictions on FL17 licence holders.

“We hope to represent as many of the 4500 affected bars and restaurants as possible. If the petition is successful, the minister may revisit the directive and lift the restriction on FL17 holders in light of the impact it has on the livelihoods of those who own or who are employed in those bars and restaurants,” he said.

FL17 licence holders pay K2.4 million every year in licence fees, while FL9 licences cost K1.2 million in annual fees.