A state's right to control alcohol sales and distribution was further solidified this week by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to reconsider its September 14 decision upholding Indiana's law against unlicensed shipments of alcohol direct to consumers.

"This decision puts a legal blockade before those who want to ship alcohol illegally. It will in no way prevent wineries or online marketers from filling consumer orders, as long as they follow the state law," said Juanita Duggan, CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. "Given the socially sensitive nature of alcohol, laws requiring ID checks, tax payments and responsible marketing are reasonable requirements placed on anyone who sells liquor, wine and beer.

The court refused on November 6 a Petition for Rehearing and Petition for Rehearing Enbanc filed by the plaintiffs in Bridenbaugh, et al. v. Karen Freeman-Wilson, Attorney General of Indiana.

The 7th Circuit had previously overturned a lower court opinion, ruling instead that the Commerce Clause does not bar states from regulating imports of wine, liquor and beer. Rather, states have full authority under the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to control beverage alcohol sales and importation into the state.

"In addition to this important court decision, the President recently signed into law the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act to give states more enforcement authority against illegal alcohol shipments. Clearly, state alcohol laws matter, the public supports them and violators will be punished," Duggan said.

"The plaintiffs in this case attempted to repeal the social good provided by reasonable controls over alcohol sales. We are delighted that the Constitution prevailed over their reckless disregard for temperance, tax collection and local custom.

"Local control is no less important today than it was when the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition. New methods of ordering -- via mail order or the Internet -- and delivery by common carrier do not negate the need of the state to control the flow of alcohol across its borders," Duggan said.

This decision also allows the state to create a level playing field for competition by ensuring that every business selling beverage alcohol in-state and out-of-state pays the same taxes, abides by the same regulations and faces the same sanctions.

"This reaffirmation of the court's decision is likely to carry significant influence in the six similar court cases now being heard around the country," Duggan said.

The other cases are being heard in New York, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Texas.