An interesting event in Vietnam. The apparent imposition of the first regulation of beer:
The ministry has also proposed forcing beer companies to place stamps on their products to fight counterfeits, warn drinkers of alcohol abuse, and prevent tax evasion. The draft document was announced early this month and immediately greeted with objections from brewers, beer vendors, and drinkers, who say it lacks feasibility. The ministry thus held the conference in Hanoi, asking brewing companies “to share solutions to improve the decree, instead of criticizing it.”
This article on the lead up to the plan tells us more. Beer production licenses for the first time? No beer with improper labels? Food stafety standards? We are all into beer and like the idea of a free marketplace but... and this is important... if we like a marketplace we have to recall it is by definition regulated. If not, you are talking about anyplace, not the marketplace.
See, beer and brewing have been regulated for a long time. You will see on beer labels and other sources of bad information the idea that the German or Bavarian or some sort of jurisdiction in those parts passed a law called the Reinheitsgebot in 1516 or not. But the regulation of beer in that small part of the British Isles that became today's England enjoyed the protection of the Assize of Bread and Ale in 1266. Whatever the regulation of beer is in the British speaking world now it dates from that time or perhaps earlier. The government of Vietnam hopes that the "[g]ood management of beer production, trade and consumption will bring a lot of benefits to the society, including more jobs generated, more health effects if beer is moderately taken, and more tax revenue to the State budget." The English of 750 years ago could have said the same thing.
Our expectation of what beer is has been framed by law. It is to be pure. It is made of good stuff. It is not to be laced with crap. Law does that for us. Lovely stuff law.