Alignment is probably a better word.
I agree...it's a much more positive
descriptor, too. There are undoubtedly scores of small brewers that will fall by the wayside and not be missed at all (except perhaps by the investors unfortunate enough to have sunk money into what was hyped to them as "a sure thing". LOL).
What's really sad is the demise of so many new brewers who began operations in the early years of the movement. At the time, although there were fewer 'craft' brewers, the ratio of good ones to bad ones was considerably higher than it is now. I can think of quite a few defunct 'craft' brewers from the earlier days of the movement's last 35 years that didn't make it largely because they were probably just 'ahead of their time' (which can actually be worse than being behind
These days, it has become such a crapshoot that it seems better than 50% of the time the product is either sub par or downright amateurish (which prompted me years ago to never
buy a full sixpackof a new 'craft' beer I haven't previously had).
In any case the realignment, which is
inevitable, will be a very good thing for both the industry and
the consumer (and probably for the retailers as well).
Now, if the industry would only come up with a more meaningful term than 'craft' to describe artisanal beer...