CHICAGO -- Quaker Oats Co.'s $1.7 billion cash offer for Snapple Beverage Corp. has touched off a wave of curiosity about the company's vision of a new type of beverage distribution system. Except for a lightly publicized direct-store-delivery experiment in Florida this year, Quaker's Gatorade is a warehouse-delivered product with primarily chain distribution. Snapple is direct-store delivered through an intricate network of distributors, primarily up-and-down-the-street retailers and ...

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