Beer Battle Brews in Sky

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Northwest Airlines Corp. has tapped Miller Lite, the nation's No. 2 light beer, to replace top-selling Bud Light on all of its flights worldwide.

Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest, the nation's fourth-largest airline, said Miller Lite will be phased in aboard Northwest and Northwest- Airlink-operated flights over the next several weeks as its inventories of Bud Light are depleted.

Northwest will continue serving Budweiser by Miller Brewing Co. rival Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. as its full-calorie beer on all of its flights. Northwest also still will offer various imported beers. Northwest, which is Michigan's largest passenger air carrier, has a hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Northwest and Northwest Airlink, which offer beverage service on roughly 2,800 of their 3,012 worldwide flights, expect to buy more than 700,000 cans of Miller Lite annually.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch fell 15 cents to close at $47.70 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have traded in the range of $44.85 to $54.74 over the past year.

Northwest shares rose 1 cent to close at $4.82 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, having reached a 52-week low of $4.71 earlier in the session.