November 30, 2021

Made In Kentucky: Who Knew?

Kentucky cities are home to some of the most unique companies in the world.

Our commonwealth is famous for horses, bourbon, fried chicken and baseball bats, as well as tomatoes (AppHarvest) and lots of vehicles (Ford and Toyota) but you may not know some of the other products that are made right here in Kentucky cities. Who knew? 

Airheads/Mentos — Erlanger: The popular soft candy and breath mints are produced by Perfetti Van Melle in Erlanger. Ale-8-One — Winchester: This famous drink has been bottled in Winchester since 1926 and is shipped worldwide. Ale-8-One is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence.

Beehive equipment — Clarkson: There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Kelley Beekeeping in Clarkson. Started back in 1934, Kelley Beekeeping is one of the four largest honey hive manufacturers. The company builds 75 percent of the items used in the honey and bee market. 

Bicycles — London: The Capitol Performance Bicycle Company produces hand made, bespoke bicycle frames, unique to each cycling client and ships frames and complete bicycles in the USA and abroad. 

Big Ass Fans — Lexington: These fans cool everything from home to huge stadiums. The innovative company was founded in 1999 under another name but changed it after customers began calling the ceiling fans “those big a## fans.” 

Big Red — Louisville: This fizzy red soda has a connection to Kentucky that goes all the way back to 1937 when it was first bottled at the R.C. Cola Bottling Company in Louisville (it was invented in Texas). To mark the drink’s 80th anniversary Louisville declared May 16, 2018 as Big Red Day. 

Bowling Balls — Hopkinsville: Ebonite bowling balls and equipment are manufactured in Hopkinsville. 

Charcoal — Burnside: In 1919 Edward G. Kingsford helped Henry Ford procure a stretch of timberland to supply wood for his auto plants. True entrepreneurs, they converted the wood waste into blocks on reconstituted char. Initially marketed under Ford’s own brand, it was eventually renamed Kingsford® Charcoal in Edward’s honor. 

Champion Petfoods USA Inc. — Auburn: High-end pet foods, Orijen and Acana, are made in Kentucky - for the discerning pet. 

Dippin’ Dots — Paducah: Dippin’ Dots turned 30 in 2018, and has been providing this fun cool confection across the globe. 

Dixie cups — Bowling Green and Lexington: Dixie cups and plates are made by the Georgia- Pacific company, which has its facilities in Bowling Green (Dixie Consumer Products) and Lexington (Lexington Dixie Plant). 

Disco balls — Louisville: Ninety percent of all disco balls made in the United States are manufactured by Omega National Products in Louisville. 

Duraflame firelogs — Somerset: Another fiery product made in Kentucky are fireplace logs. One of the company’s is in California and the other one is in Somerset. 

Fighting rings — Lawrenceburg: Monster Rings and Cages in Lawrenceburg designs and ships boxing rings, wrestling cages and other fighting equipment worldwide. Many famous rings, such as the one in Madison Square Garden, were made in Kentucky. 

Gorilla Glass (iPhone glass) — Harrodsburg: The Corning Incorporated plant in Harrodsburg makes glass used in iPhones. Hot Pockets — Mount Sterling: The popular snack food is made by Nestlé Prepared Foods in Mount Sterling.

Houseboats — Somerset and the Lake Cumberland area: Designated as the “Houseboat Capital of the World,” Kentucky is the birthplace of the first houseboat in 1953. Today, the boating industry contributes more than $826 million a year to Kentucky’s economy.

JIF Peanut Butter — Lexington: It takes 188 billion peanuts to produce the amount of peanut butter made at the JIF (J.M. Smucker) plant in Lexington. 

L’Oreal — Florence: The beauty product manufacturer makes Garnier Fructis, as well as other shampoos and conditioners, in Florence.

Playing cards — Erlanger: The United States Playing Card Company, in Erlanger, produces and distributes the nation’s favorite brands of playing cards, including Bee, Bicycle, Aviator and Hoyle.

Pop-Tarts — Pikeville: The breakfast favorite is made at the Kellogg’s facility in Pikeville.

Post-it Notes — Cynthiana: Invented in 1968, America’s familiar yellow “sticky note” is manufactured by the 3M Company in Cynthiana. 

Professional sports equipment — Falmouth: Life Fitness, in Falmouth, is the premier athletic equipment manufacturer for all MLB and NFL teams, numerous NHL and NBA teams, many college athletics programs and the U.S. military.

Reynolds Wrap — Louisville: All Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil is produced in Louisville, which is where it was founded in 1919.

Tiffany engagement rings — Lexington: Tiffany & Co., in Lexington, produces the classic six-prong engagement ring and other pieces of fine jewelry.

Truffles for the stars — Louisville: Every guest attending the 86th Academy Awards received a box of truffles handmade by Art Eatables, a Kentucky ProudTM business in Louisville.

Tempur-Pedic — Lexington: The worldfamous mattress and pillow manufacturer has its international headquarters in Lexington.

Sources: Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky Supply Co, Think Kentucky, Kentucky Monthly.