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Ex-Facebook exec shows old-school sake maker power of social media

Kiuchi Brewery bucks tradition with direct-to-consumer beer

Visitors toast with craft beer at Kiuchi Brewer in the Japanese city of Naka, northeast of Tokyo. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO/PALO ALTO, U.S. -- When a former Facebook executive first approached Yoichi Kiuchi with the idea of selling craft beer from his roughly 200-year-old brewery straight to consumers, he could not help but be skeptical.

"In my experience, the most important thing in this industry is controlling distribution," said the president of Kiuchi Brewery, located in Naka, about 100 km northeast of Tokyo.

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