As a member of Gen X, I should be used to watching all the hallmarks of my youth disappear. First, Brontosaurus wasn’t a dinosaur, then Pluto wasn’t a planet, then our favorite soaps disappeared, and this year our old fashion stand by, J. Crew, which launched a whole generation of preppies announced it was on virtual life support. So I’ve been wondering what’s next? Last week came the answer: Tab.

That’s Right, the only diet pop (Sorry, I’m from the Midwest, so it is pop) anyone drank in my childhood.

The Tab Generation

Tab to me instantly brings back memories of lying out in the sun in bikinis with my friends with baby oil rubbed all over our skin to help us change color (yes, I know that is a disastrous practice, but it’s what we did in the 70s, even me, a redhead). We would always have a couple of cans of Tab cracked open by our sun chairs, knowing we were getting that delicious soda flavor at no calories. Ahhh… Tab.


I remember when this new-fangled sweetener hit the market. In our neighborhood, there were mailings full of sugar free gumballs that went for free to every house. We were super excited. Shortly after that, all the diet sodas started popping up with aspartame as their main sweetener. Tab started to take a back seat, but not for all of us.

I quickly noticed I didn’t feel right when I drank other diet sodas. I had several bad physical reactions to aspartame. Then, one summer in college my boss in an office I worked at told me she required all the pop machines in the break rooms to have Tab, because she had bad reactions to aspartame as well and Tab was the lone diet soda that still had saccharin. My love affair with Tab was rekindled.

In Memoriam

Alas, unlike J. Crew which may find it’s way out of bankruptcy, Tab is taking its place in history. But for those of us diet soda fans, let’s take a moment and thank this forerunner to all other diet sodas, because when it launched in 1963, it was a first of its kind. Tab was a trailblazer. And if you haven’t had a sip of this saccharin sweet delight, run to your closest grocery store, because apparently it will be on the shelves until New Years Eve this year, so raise a toast to this trailblazer drink.

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About Laura Keyes Ellsworth

Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.

View all posts by Laura Keyes Ellsworth

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