Is this a battle won for the popularity of our favorite hobby?
I don't know, let's break it down.
Through the late nineties and into the 2000's, many of my friends didn't know what to call them and some of us said microbrew while others naively referred to it as "dark beer". Today I think most people realize that there are many different styles of beer.
The first time I heard the term craft beer, it was meant to distinguish itself from the large corporate brewers like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. After all, their products were made to appeal to the masses and tended to be watered down, low alchohol, light colored lagers that looked or tasted nothing like these other beers. I've recently heard a more tangible idea for separating players in the craft beer market. To qualify, production of craft beer should remain below 6 million barrels of beer per year.
So then what happens when these large companies add products to compete with all of the small to mid-sized breweries? Wheat beers like Shock Top and Blue Moon are popular examples of this. I would have to call them craft beer if judged by taste.
Personally, I'd like to think it has more to do with the attention to detail in recreating a style, or pushing boundries to create something new and interesting.
Then there's our beloved homebrew. I can't say that every batch I brew is the greatest...certainly not, but there are many that turn out just as good as commercial craft beer examples. Does this mean I can call my beer "craft beer"?
I think so.
At the end of the day (or the bottom of the glass), I guess we have to judge each beer on it's own and decide if it deserves to be called "craft beer".
Finally, here's how the dictionary describes it, like it or not:
Definition of CRAFT BEER: a specialty beer
produced in limited quantities : microbrew
First Known Use of CRAFT BEER 1986