When Did They Stop Making Pull Tabs On Beer Cans?

Once a staple of American beer culture, pull tabs on beer cans were a convenient and easy way to open a cold one. But as technology and packaging materials advanced, the pull tab slowly but surely became a thing of the past. So when did this iconic feature disappear from our beer cans? Let's dive into the history of the pull tab and find out when and why it was phased out.


The use of pull tabs on beer cans started in the 1960s, but began to phase out in the 1970s and 1980s in favor of the stay-on tab, also known as the ring pull can. The stay-on tab is considered more convenient and safer to use than the pull tab. The exact date that pull tabs were discontinued by all manufacturers is uncertain, but the use of pull tabs became less common in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

What's Special About Pull Tabs

Pull Tabs

Pull Tab Cans or Pop Tops were a type of canned beverage that were known for their easy-to-open design. They were made of aluminum and featured a small, hinged tab on the top of the can that could be easily pulled open to reveal a small, circular opening. Pull Tabs Oner Cans were a popular choice among people who wanted a convenient, easy-to-open alternative to traditional canned beverages, which required a can opener or a sharp edge to open. They were often used for carbonated drinks, such as soda and beer, and were known for their ease of use and their convenience.

Whatever Happened To Pull Tabs

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Pull tabs, also known as pop-tops, are small metal tabs that are used to open cans of beverages such as soda and beer. They were first invented in the 1960s by a man named Ermal Fraze, who was frustrated with the difficulties of opening cans using traditional can openers. Pull tabs were a revolutionary design, as they eliminated the need for a separate can opener and made it much easier to open cans. The pull tab design quickly became popular, and by the 1970s, most canned beverages were sold with pull tabs. They were very popular in US, Canada, and Europe. However, the pull tab had a major drawback in that they created litter, and some studies found that the discarded tabs could harm wildlife. So, a new design called stay-on-tab was introduced in 1975 and it solved the litter issue, by keeping the tab attached to the can. Nowadays, pull tabs are not in wide use, and cans are being mostly sealed with easy-open end (EOE) and ring-pull can end in which the pull ring is attached to the can.

Popular Alternatives To Pull Tabs

Here are three alternatives to pull tabs for opening aluminum beverage cans:

(a) Easy-open ends: These are also known as end-openings or "zip-top" cans. They are now the most widely used type of opening mechanism on aluminum beverage cans. They can be opened by pressing down on a tab at the end of the can, which separates the top of the can from the rest of the can.

(b) Pop-top cans: These are cans that have a hinged top that can be opened by pressing down on a button or tab located on the top of the can. They are a convenient option for those who prefer a more hands-free method of opening a can.

(c) Can openers: Traditional can openers can be used to open any type of aluminum beverage can, including those with pull tabs. Can openers can be manual or electric, and they work by cutting a circular opening around the top of the can.

Overall, there are many options available for those looking for an alternative to pull tabs for opening aluminum beverage cans. Whether you prefer easy-open ends, pop-top cans, or a can opener, there is likely a method that will suit your needs.