Drinks wholesalers in Tennessee have hailed a state ruling that prohibits direct shipments of alcoholic drinks.

A Federal Appeals Court last week upheld a ban on direct shipments in Tennessee, ruling that alcohol must pass through the state's wholesalers.

The decision has been hailed as a victory by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) in its long-running battle with several retailers over direct shipments.

"We applaud the growing consensus of courts that have rejected attempts to deregulate the distribution of alcohol and deprive individual states of their right under the 21st Amendment to preserve effective and accountable regulatory systems," said WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf. 

Wholesalers are concerned about the disintegration of the so-called three-tier system in US alcoholic drinks distribution, in place since the end of Prohibition.

Retailers and some consumer organisations say that consumers should be able to buy wine and spirits directly from outside their own state, without going through a local wholesaler.