This week, as part of National Small Business Week, we celebrate the impact of our nation's small business owners, entrepreneurs and employees.

For more than a century, the beverage industry has played a critical role in supporting American workers, families and neighborhood businesses.

In fact, the beverage industry employs approximately 253,000 hard-working Americans, contributes $182 billion in direct economic impact and provides $19.8 billion in wages and benefits. Not to mention the 1.1 million workers in restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters and more who rely on beverage sales for their livelihood.

With a presence felt in the corner of every community in the country - from products in the aisles of neighborhood stores, to local deliver drivers who distribute them to the support of local community initiatives - the beverage industry is an essential part of our economy.

As we celebrate National Small Business Week, we honor our industry's long-standing tradition of creating good-paying jobs, driving innovation, serving customers and giving back to the community. And, look forward to another century of growing small businesses and providing opportunities for all.