Home » MRCK16: Central Kentucky produces dozens of iconic brand products

MRCK16: Central Kentucky produces dozens of iconic brand products

By Robbie Clark

One of Lexington's most prominent manufacturing businesses, Big Ass Solutions, recently launched a new business called Haiku Home, a cutting-edge technology-driven residential division.
One of Lexington’s most prominent manufacturing businesses, Big Ass Solutions, recently launched a new business called Haiku Home, a cutting-edge technology-driven residential division.

Lexington and Central Kentucky’s close proximity to a majority of the nation’s population makes the region an attractive manufacturing hub, and many companies have taken advantage of the area’s advantageous location.

But the educated workforce here also is a powerful attraction to potential new manufacturers, especially those in advanced manufacturing. 

More than 40 percent of the population 25 years or older in Lexington has at least a bachelor’s degree – a statistic that ranks the city as the 13th most highly educated in the nation. Furthermore, 17 percent of the population has an advanced degree.

This educated population makes Lexington and Central Kentucky fertile ground for advanced manufacturing.

From Market Review Central Kentucky 2016-17

TMMK celebrates 30 years

King of manufacturing in Central Kentucky, if not the entire state, is Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky – Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility outside of Japan. Located in Scott County, TMMK has recently celebrated a number of milestones: in 2014, the company marked 10 million cars having rolled off its lines; in 2015 TMMK began production of the Lexus ES sedan; and the facility celebrated the 30th anniversary of its groundbreaking in 2016.

Annual production can top 55,000 vehicles and more than 600,000 engines.

The Toyota manufacturing plant is an economic juggernaut, directly employing nearly 8,000 and investing more than $6 billion into the site. Indirectly, TMMK helps fosters a number of regional businesses, such as nearby Webasto Roof Systems, which has a vehicle sunroof and components production facility in Lexington. Webasto has about 1,100 employees. Statewide, Toyota utilizes over 100 suppliers, and a recent study completed by the Center for Automotive Research indicates that every Toyota job in Kentucky creates nearly three more across the commonwealth.

Link-Belt, Georgia Pacific, Jif … the list goes on

Lockheed Martin, the Maryland-based global security company, employees about 1,100 workers at its Bluegrass Station facility in Fayette County. In Lexington, the Lockheed Martin facility handles contracts for U.S. Special Forces Command, including aviation and small arms repair and manufacturing.

Trane Lexington, which manufactures residential, commercial and industrial air heating and cooling parts and systems, employs about 1,000 workers at its facility.

Lexington-based Big Ass Solutions, which produces low-energy, high-volume industrial ceiling fans – employs nearly 700 workers at its plant and research headquarters.

At its 500,000-s.f. Lexington facility, Link-Belt is a world leader in crane manufacturing. Its annual CraneFest event draws attendance from around the world. 

France-based Schneider Electric, which manufactures a variety of energy machinery, employs about 500 workers at its Lexington facility.

Georgia Pacific produces a variety of paper and plastic products in Lexington and employs about 250 workers.

Iconic packed lunch brand Jif Peanut Butter is manufactured by J.M. Smucker in Lexington and is the largest peanut butter production facility in the world, requiring 188 billion peanuts annually and employing about 250 workers.

On the horizon, a new advanced manufacturing food production company broke ground in summer 2016 on a new facility in Woodford County. More Than a Bakery, the oldest family-owned cookie and cracker bakery in the country, began construction of a $57 million, 250,000-s.f. plant on 100 acres of land in Versailles, where it is moving its headquarters from Indiana. The company will employee over 300 workers.

Though they may not be considered a part of advanced manufacturing, a number of other iconic brands come out of the Bluegrass, including Ale-8-One ginger soft drink, which is made in Winchester.

Bourbon is one of the most recognizable products globally made in the Bluegrass.


Post-it products, Scotch Tape

Cynthiana – mmm.com

Ale-8-One Bottling Co.

Soft drinks

Winchester – ale-8-one.com

Alltech Inc.

Natural animal feed additives

Nicholasville – alltech.com

Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.




Convertible tops


Audio Authority

Media switches


Barrel House Distillery

Moonshine, rum, vodka


Big Ass Solutions

Industrial ceiling fans


Buffalo Trace Distillery


Frankfort – buffalotrace.com

Bulleit Distilling Co.


Lawrenceburg – bulleitbourbon.com

Carhartt Inc.

Work clothing

Irvine – carhartt.com

Caterpillar Inc.

Tractor components

Danville – cat.com


Ceramic inserts for bullet proof vests


Clark Material Handling Co.



Corning Display Technologies

Glass processes & products technology

Harrodsburg – corning.com

Country Boy Brewing

Craft beer


Florida Tile Inc.

Porcelain & ceramic tile

Lawrenceburg – floridatile.com

Four Roses Distillery


Lawrenceburg – fourrosesbourbon.com

Denyo Manufacturing Corp.

High-output diesel generators

Danville – denyo.co.jp/english

GE Lighting LLC

Automotive headlights, specialty lamps



Dixie Cup cups & plates


Highbridge Spring Water

Bottled water

Wilmore – highbridgesprings.com


Commercial dishwashing equipment

Danville – hobartcorp.com

International Paper

Corrugated boxes


Jim Beam Brands


Frankfort – jimbeam.com

J.M. Smucker Co.

Jif peanut butter


Johnson Controls Inc.

Automotive foam pads


Kaba Mas LLC

High-security locking solutions


Kinetic Technologies

Animal, human supplements


Laura’s Lean Beef

Natural beef products



Liquid dryers

Richmond – lectrodryer.com

Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co.

Telescopic & lattice boom cranes


Lockheed Martin

Military operations logistics support


Lore Brewing Co.

Craft beer

Danville – lorebrew.com

Lucas Equine Equipment

Stall components, farm gates

Cynthiana – lucasequine.com

Mingua Beef Jerky

Paris – minguabeefjerky.com

Nacco Materials
Handling Group

Lift trucks

Berea – nmhg.com

Neogen Corp.

Food & animal safety products


Old Kentucky Candies


Osram Sylvania

Fluorescent/tungsten halogen lamps

Versailles/Winchester – sylvania.com

Parker Seal

Engineered o-rings


Pittsburgh Glass Works


Berea – pgwglass.com

Q-Lighting Inc.

Commercial lighting solutions


Quillin Leather & Tack

Equine halters & equipment

Paris – quillin.com

Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory

Frankfort – rebeccaruth.com

Red Wing Shoe Co.

Work boots

Danville – redwingshoes.com


Paperboard folding boxes

Nicholasville – rocktenn.com

Rocky Top Log
Furniture & Railing

Log furniture & railing

Lancaster –rockytoplogfurniture.com

Rogers Windows



Ruggles Sign Co.

Commercial signage

Versailles – rugglessign.com

Sargent & Greenleaf

Security locks

Nicholasville – sargentandgreenleaf.com

Schneider Electric

Square D electrical safety switches


Sharp’s Candies

Lexington – sharpscandies.com

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp.

Automotive coatings/finishes

Richmond – sherwin-automotive.com

Tiffany & Co.

Luxury jewelry


Tokico Inc.

Brake & suspension systems

Berea – tokicousa.com

Toyota Motor
Manufacturing Kentucky

Automobiles, engines

Georgetown – toyotageorgetown.com

Trane Commercial Systems

Air systems


Trim Masters Inc.

Automotive interior trim






Intraocular lenses


Vermont Castings Group

Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves

Paris – vermontcastings.com

Wausau Paper

Paper towels & tissues

Harrodsburg – wausaupaper.com

Webasto Roof Systems Inc.

Automotive sunroofs


Weisenberger Mills

Baking products

Midway – weisenberger.com

West Sixth Brewing Co.

Craft beer


Wild Turkey Distillery


Lawrenceburg –


Woodford Reserve Distillery

Versailles – woodfordreserve.com l