Your loved one’s ashes are turned to gems at suburban brewery

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DES PLAINES, Ill. -- Cremated remains and craft beer.  It’s an unlikely pairing. That is, unless you're in the newest micro-brewery in Des Plaines.

Belly up to Fibs Brewing Company and you get your pick of 12 handcrafted brews along with a view of what these guys are known best for: Creating gems from the ashes of the deceased.

For 17 years, Greg Herro and Dean VandenBiesen have used their scientific expertise to turn people's loved one's ashes into sparkling diamonds of every shade. The duo has created over 10,000 Life Gems for families wanting to memorialize their loved ones.

For years, it's been done at their Des Plaines Lab, behind closed doors. The process can take weeks to several months, leaving Herro and  VandenBiesen  to their other passion: concocting the perfect craft beer.
"There's a lot of overlaps in the process of making diamonds and making beer,” Herro says. “Making gemstones is  very mathematical.  You need to gauge heat and pressure. If you want to make the perfect beer, you need heat, the right grain composition, timing.  For both of them, everything's gotta be just right."

And that was the beginning of what is now the first micro-brewery where you can throw back a beer while watching your loved ones being memorialized into a diamond.

"That's what Life Gem is,” says VandenBiesen. "Celebrating the one they lost and, on the beer side, enjoying life with everyone that is still here. It's actually a nice combination."

Their motto is life's too short to drink bad beer.

Fibs Brewing Company expects to open to the public this fall. Check out and for more information.


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