STEINBACH, Man. -- A dry community in southern Manitoba has discovered it's actually wet.

Officials with the Rural Municipality of Hanover have never allowed liquor to be sold and were preparing to hold a referendum this fall on whether to allow booze.

Reeve Stan Toews says researchers were surprised to find out liquor was never officially banned in the first place.

Toews, who is 63, says he grew up in the community and, like everyone else, assumed the municipality's dry status had been put into law at some point long ago.

But he says researchers went as far back as 1880 and could find no bylaw banning booze.

Toews says any restaurant that wants to sell alcohol can now simply apply for a provincial liquor licence.

Hanover is a rural municipality of about 12,000 residents that sits 70 km south of Winnipeg.