Tab Shortage Sparks Nationwide Diet-Soda Freak-out

The original diet soda. Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Before there was Diet Coke, there was Tab, Coca-Cola’s first-ever diet soda, which the Atlanta-based company introduced back in 1963. Diet Coke has far eclipsed Tab in popularity since debuting in 1982, but out of nostalgia or something like it, Coca-Cola still makes the drink.

The Times reports, however, that for the last few months, there’s been a massive Tab shortage, and fans of the diet cola are losing it. Coca-Cola denies playing any part in the shortage. Instead, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, the largest independent bottler of Coke products, which has decided to stop selling 12-packs of Tab.

The aptly named website,, has created a petition to save the 55-year-old diet soda, and it’s worth checking out for the comments alone. “I have been a loyal Tab drinker for 40 years,” reads one comment. “Diet Coke in all its permutations are not the same. I am so angry that this is the way my loyalty is being repaid.”

And while the majority of Tab devotees are older, some young people have stepped up to advocate for their Tab-loving family members. As one Olivia L. from Rochester, New York, puts it, “I am signing on behalf of my mother. I always thought it was weird that she drank so much Tab, but the New York Times article opened my eyes to the reality that a Tab shortage is a national issue. I plan to stock up as much as I can for her, but my goodness, with all of the negativity in the world right now, can’t somebody please think of the Tab drinkers?”

Tab Shortage Sparks Nationwide Diet-Soda Freak-out