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SPARTA, Wis. - Sparta voters have said no to booze for the sixth time since 1982.

Two referendums - one to allow the sale of beer for off-site consumption, the other liquor - failed Tuesday. Sales of both have been banned outside of bars since 1963.

About 53 percent said no to beer; 58 percent voted against liquor.

Referendum supporters said grocers and convenience stores need beer and liquor sales to survive, especially in a tough economy, and customers don't want to make an extra trip.

Owners of two liquor stores outside the city limits said the added competition would have jeopardized their business and made it easier for underage drinkers to get booze.

"It's not just about business," said Todd Eddy, co-owner of Westside Wine and Spirits. "I am happy that the city of Sparta went and helped our kids."

Chad Monty, owner of the Sparta BP Travel Center, said city retailers would try another referendum in two years.

Similar referendums failed in 1982, 1985, 1996, 2005 and 2007.

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