The Center for Alcohol Studies of Thailand (CAS) is a newly established research agency in Thailand. With support from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, CAS was established as the national research and knowledge management institute for addressing alcohol-related harms. CAS possesses some rare qualities. First, it is one of a few alcohol-specific research centres in low- and middle-income countries, and the only one in the Southeast Asia region. Secondly, CAS both conducts research and grants research funding, allowing it to influence to some extent the direction of Thai alcohol research. Furthermore, CAS researchers engage in all components of the research and policy process. In line with the concept of ‘the Triangle that Moves the Mountain’, CAS interacts closely with partners from all sectors, prioritizes capacity development and frequently operates beyond conventional academic function.