While beer provides a very stable microbiological environment, a few niche microorganisms are capable of growth in malt, wort and beer. Growth of mycotoxin-producing fungi during malting, production of off-flavours and development of turbidity in the packaged product due to the growth and metabolic activity of wild yeasts, certain lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and anaerobic Gram negative bacteria, impact negatively on beer quality. It follows that any means by which microbial contamination can be reduced or controlled would be of great economic interest to the brewing industry and would serve the public interest. There has been an increasing effort to develop novel approaches to minimal processing, such as the exploitation of inhibitory components natural to raw materials, to enhance the microbiological stability of beer. LAB species, which occur as part of the natural barley microbiota, persist during malting and mashing, and can play a positive role in the beer-manufacturing process by their contribution to wort bioacidification or the elimination of undesirable microorganisms. Other naturally occurring components of beer that have been valued for their preservative properties are hop compounds. It may be possible to enhance the antimicrobial activities of these compounds during brewing. Some yeast strains produce and excrete extracellular toxins called zymocins, which are lethal to sensitive yeast strains. Yeast strains resistant to zymocins have been constructed. Imparting zymocinogenic activity to brewing yeast would offer a defence against wild yeasts in the brewery. Thus, the antimicrobial properties of naturally occurring components of raw materials can be exploited to enhance the microbial stability of beer.