Lacticin 3147 is a two-peptide broad spectrum lantibiotic produced by Lactococcus lactis DPC3147 shown to inhibit a number of clinically relevant Gram-positive pathogens. Initially isolated from an Irish kefir grain, lacticin 3147 is one of the most extensively studied lantibiotics to date. In this study, the bacterial diversity of the Irish kefir grain from which L. lactis DPC3147 was originally isolated was for the first time investigated using a high-throughput parallel sequencing strategy. A total of 17 416 unique V4 variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene were analysed from both the kefir starter grain and its derivative kefir-fermented milk. Firmicutes (which includes the lactic acid bacteria) was the dominant phylum accounting for > 92% of sequences. Within the Firmicutes, dramatic differences in abundance were observed when the starter grain and kefir milk fermentate were compared. The kefir grain-associated bacterial community was largely composed of the Lactobacillaceae family while Streptococcaceae (primarily Lactococcus spp.) was the dominant family within the kefir milk fermentate. Sequencing data confirmed previous findings that the microbiota of kefir milk and the starter grain are quite different while at the same time, establishing that the microbial diversity of the starter grain is not uniform with a greater level of diversity associated with the interior kefir starter grain compared with the exterior.