The industrial storage of sugar thick juice was simulated on a laboratory scale. Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and the application of Clone Libraries in parallel with classical microbiology were used to study the bacterial diversity and all revealed a dominance (>99%) of Tetragenococcus halophilus during storage. The degradation of thick juice correlated with the appearance of L-lactic acid and high concentrations of T. halophilus. In addition, pure cultures of T. halophilus induced degradation of sterile thick juice. A specific PCR was developed to detect T. halophilus and industrial thick juice samples from Belgium, Germany and France all contained T. halophilus, suggesting a consistent association of this organism with thick juice. T. halophilus has been known only as a halophile thus far, and this report is the first to show an association of this organism with a sugar-rich environment.