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Aussie drinks 'one last' Foster's for mate of 45 years thanks to kind stranger

Gordon pleaded for help online the day before his close friend's funeral.

What else indicates a friendship between two Aussie blokes more than the pair enjoying a beer together.

That sentiment pushed Sydney man Gordon Carlsen forward in his pursuit to find Foster's beer after his friend of 45 years Ken Bracken recently passed away — believing "one last drink" of his mate's favourite beer was the most fitting way to commemorate him.

Left, Gordon Carlsen has his arm round friend Ken Bracken while standing at a lookout. Right, three crates of Foster's beer are stacked on a kitchen bench top.
Gordon Carlsen (right) was eager to commemorate his mate of 45 years Ken Bracken (left) by drinking Foster's at his funeral. Source: Supplied

Despite getting organised ahead of the funeral on Friday, Gordon found himself empty-handed after the parcel was lost in the mail. In a desperate final plea, he turned to ask others for help online, and a stranger answered his prayers.

"It wasn't so much about the beer, I understood that it was a lot more about what the beer represented between a friendship for that many years," Roger Labbad told Yahoo News Australia. "I could tell he felt like he had let his friend down and I wanted to help."

The 'amber nectar' at the end of a long day of searching

The co-owner of Bottle-O Glen Alpine took it upon himself to use his contacts in the industry to hunt down the sought-after beer, ringing over 30 competitors and brand reps to track down a case of Foster's.

After hours of searching, Roger located some in a bottle shop an hour's drive away from his home, in the city's west, and jumped in the car to secure it before taking it to Gordon on Thursday.

"I have no idea who Roger was at the time, and was gobsmacked at the levels he went to help me," Gordon admitted to Yahoo News. "For someone that didn't even know me, that man moved mountains, and clearly as he refused any payment, he just did out of pure kindness."

"Thanks to Rodger, we, his mates, can say goodbye to our friend — properly and with respect."

The value in enjoying a beer with a mate

Roger understands there is much more to be gained than simply drinking beer when mates sit down together, believing it can often foster communication which is otherwise scarce in many men's lives.

"For somebody to be able to sit with a mate and and just share their life and share experiences over a beer is amazing, in Australia especially," he said. "It could really mean the difference between you know, someone being ok or not. It's more important than people think."

The father and sons stand holding beers while smiling at the camera.
Roger Labbad (right) may not have known Gordon but is no stranger to the importance of male friendships. Here he enjoys a beer with his brother Eddie and dad George. Source: Supplied

Roger and brother Eddie bought the bottle shop in 2015 before launching Bottle-O Bros, an digital platform which allows Aussies across the country to enjoy craft beer together.

"I'm so happy that Gordon can send his friend off in a fitting way and in the way he wanted to," Roger said.

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