Chinese Daqu is used as a starter for liquor and vinegar fermentations. It is produced by solid state fermentation of cereal-pulse mixtures. A succession of fungi, lactic acid bacteria and Bacillus spp. was observed during the production of Daqu. Mesophilic bacteria followed by fungi, dominated the first phase of fermentation. Next, lactic acid bacteria increased in relative abundance, resulting in an increase of the acidity of Daqu. At the final stages of fermentation, Bacillus spp. and thermophilic fungi became the dominant groups, possibly due to their tolerance to low water activity and high temperature. Both culture-dependent and culture-independent analyses confirmed that Bacillus spp. were ubiquitous throughout the process. Yeast species such as Wickerhamomyces anomalus, Saccharomycopsis fibuligera and Pichia kudriavzevii were present throughout almost the entire fermentation process, but the zygomycetous fungus Lichtheimia corymbifera proliferated only during the final stages of fermentation. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) revealed the significance of acidity, moisture content and temperature in correlation with the composition of the microbial communities at different stages.