Beer Meets Bereavement: Brewery and Memorial Diamonds Lab to Share One Roof
In today’s crowded craft beer scene where over two new breweries open per day, it benefits new brewers to have something to set them apart. Planning to open this fall in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Fibs Brewing Company would seem to have that interesting angle—a mix of beer and diamonds. Except that the diamonds in question are being forged out of the ashes of cremated dead people. Yes, these aren’t your average diamonds.
Greg Herro and Dean VandenBiesen are planning to open Fibs Brewing in the same facility where, since 2002, they’ve been running another business, LifeGem. Using a patented process the pair invented, LifeGem creates “an authentic diamond … from the ashes of your loved one as a memorial to their unique & wonderful life.” Though mixing beer and human remains (not literally, of course) might sound a bit gruesome, Herro spun the idea as a positive. “Where else can you go and have a pint of fresh beer and watch machines make diamonds out of dead people?” he told the Daily Herald. It’s a valid question.
Herro and VandenBiesen, who began homebrewing about five years ago, said that though the equipment of their two ventures will share a single space, they’ll be separated by a glass wall. However, the taproom will provide a view of both the whirring diamond-forging machines and the bubbling fermenters. “We wanted to create LifeGem as a celebration of life,” Herro added. “The beer goes right along with that because we want to focus on the good times. Life is too short to not focus on the good times.”
VandenBiesen even went so far as to suggest that their two businesses weren’t as dissimilar as it may seem. “Making a diamond, you have to follow a recipe,” he was quoted as saying. “With beer, it's no different.” Well, maybe a little different.