On the way back from my first trip to Belgium, I loaded an entire duffel bag full of beer and carried it onto the plane. This was, of course, before the latest liquid restrictions.
The last few trips I've been a little more selective in what I bring back, and have always been able to get some bottles in a checked bag through unscathed. I'll usually put each bottle in a sock or something, and wrap some other clothes around them. Maybe a few pieces of cardboard or something rigid to protect from bumps.