It was probably inevitable in a country so obsessed with food and drink that Thailand's political turmoil would spill over into beer.
Singha beer, made by the oldest brewery in Thailand, is a national icon and a staple of Thai restaurants around the world. But in recent weeks it has also become a target of an informal boycott by Thais who are angry that a member of the wealthy family behind the beer company is one of the leaders of antigovernment demonstrators who are trying to scuttle elections planned for next month.
(Read more: Violent protests expose cracks in Thai economy)
Thailand's political turmoil defies concise explanation, but the beer boycott is emblematic of one striking division in Thailand today: the chasm between middle- and upper-class protesters in Bangkok, and the millions of voters in the provinces who are bewildered and angered at the protesters' attempts to oust the government and to stop the elections that seem almost sure to return the government to power.
Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, 28, the beer heiress and a major player in the Bangkok protests, was quoted last month in a widely circulated article saying that many Thais lack a "true understanding" of democracy, "especially in the rural areas."