One of the key features of the original “real ale revolution” was that it was fundamentally democratic, that it was saying some of the finest beers in Britain, if not it the world, could be, and indeed were, routinely enjoyed by everyday drinkers in ordinary pubs. But “craft beer” stands this on its head and says that beer nirvana can only be found in the strong, expensive, obscure and uncompromisingly flavoured. It is a cult of beer snobs. If any brewer’s products become popular and start to sell in large volumes, it is inevitably decried as having sold out.
“Craft beer” is a term that originated in the USA, and its application to this country’s beer scene has always been somewhat controversial and questionable. However, if we extrapolate the US understanding (and I know the two countries are very different in terms of their beer markets), we would say that, effectively, all cask beer and all premium bottled ales were craft. But I don’t think the typical crafterati would agree.
Maybe a “craft beer enthusiast” could be defined as someone whose idea of perfect hell was having to spend the entire evening in a Donnington pub serving just BB and SBA. But Donnington must be one of the most “artisanal” (in the true sense of the term) breweries in the country.