For Baird Brewing, perseverance and the cultivation of a loyal fan base has made it a rarity in Japanese craft beer: a truly independent brewery. Lacking the shelter of a parent company, it has created a line of taprooms to spread its concept of craft beer and hospitality.

In 2000, husband-and-wife team Bryan and Sayuri Baird opened the Numazu Fishmarket Taproom along the west coast of Shizuoka Prefecture's Izu Peninsula. They served imported beers while waiting for their brewing license, Bryan running the bar and Sayuri running the kitchen. Finally, in January 2001, Baird became the smallest licensed brewery in Japan, beginning with a 30-liter system; literally brewing a keg of beer at a time.

Initially, attracting customers in such a small town was difficult. Eager to avoid the stigma of ji-biru (local beer), Bryan marketed his beer as "craft beer," then an unfamiliar term in Japan. This meant he often needed to explain the very idea of his beer to his customers.