Booze bid thrownout.
The decision is a blow to consumers hoping for a pre-Christmas bonanza.
But it is good news for Chancellor Gordon Brown, who had been facing a multi-billion-pound-a-year hole in revenue from domestic excise duty if the decision had gone the other way.
The European Court of Justice judges ruled that "only products acquired and transported personally by private individuals are exempt from excise duty in the member state of importation".
This means that Britons who want to take advantage of cheaper alcohol prices on the continent will still have to travel there on so-called booze cruises.