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Made in Lexington: 13 things created in and around LEX

From brands to artists, Lexington’s business scene is truly inspired.

Bourbon barrels in front of a rick house.

Bourbon barrels in front of a rick house. | Photo courtesy of @whiskeylore

Table of Contents

Made in Lexington. Yep, that sure has a nice ring to it. From clothing and accessories, to snacks and other fun finds, we’ve rounded up 13 things homegrown in and around LEX.

While some of these brands have branched out beyond our city, one thing’s for sure — there’s some major inspo happening around these parts.

Snacks and drinks

Just after the American Revolution, a little place called Bourbon County, Kentucky became synonymous with a process already familiar with the European settlers of the region — taking corn, barley, or rye and aging it so it becomes whiskey. While experts are still at odds about whether bourbon’s namesake came from the region, Kentucky take pride in making this spirit uniquely ours.

Mingua Beef Jerky
This famous jerky was born just up the road in Paris by farmer Ronnie Mingua. He had one goal in mind: create a snack from premium cuts of meat with no artificial ingredients. Now, the family-owned business can be found all across the nation.

When you walk into any Kentucky restaurant or grocery store, there’s no doubt that your eyes will instantly lock with these iconic green bottles. Invented in Winchester, Ale-8 has been the ginger ale-inspired staple of the area for nearly one century.

Rebecca Ruth Candy
This female-founded company got its start in 1919 — before founders Ruth Hanly (Booe) and Rebecca Gooch could vote in national elections. In 1938, the bourbon ball was invented. Today, Ruth’s legacy lives on through the company’s unique, high-quality chocolates.

Lexington Brewing + Distilling Company
An arm of the iconic agriculture company Alltech, Lexington Brewing is known for its Kentucky Ale, a brew that merges the bourbon-making process with beer.

Gents Original Soda
Elevate your cocktail and mocktail game with its line of mixers with flavors like spiced blood orange, toasted oak ginger, and of course — mint julep. Founded locally in 2014, Gents also has a line of products in partnership with bourbon brand Elijah Craig.

A large fan

No false advertising here. | Photo by LEXtoday

Fun finds

Big Ass Fans
Look up in nearly any warehouse-style building, and you’ll likely see a huge fan spinning. That’s thanks to our very own self-explanatory Big Ass Fans, which is the largest producer of high-volume, low speed fans in the world.

Post-it Notes
These handy adhesive note-jotting pieces of paper were born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, just a few miles north of Lexington. Since the late 1970s, Cynthiana has been the largest producer of Post-It Notes.

Steam boats
In 1793, Edward West, a Lexingtonian, blacksmith + inventor, built a model steam boat that was tested on the Town Fork of Elkhorn Creek here in Lexington. A few years later in 1802, Edward received a patent for his steamboat invention.

Toyota Camry
Did you know that Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky is Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world? The Georgetown-based employer creates 550,000 vehicles and 600,000+ engines annually. In addition to the Camry, it also produces the Camry Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid.

A vinyl record of Tame Impala's "Currents" featuring the art of Robert Beatty.

If you’ve browsed through your local record store, you’ve likely seen Robert’s work on albums like this. | Photo by LEXtoday


Robert Beatty
A staple in Lexington local music scene, you’ve likely also seen Robert’s work used in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and as the cover art for some of the world’s most famous musicians. Think: The Weeknd, Tame Impala, and Kesha.

Ada Limón
Known as the the 24th United States Poet Laureate — and the first Latina to hold the title — Ada is California born but has resided in Lexington for over a decade. While the initial move to the South was hard for her, as detailed in her 2014 poem “State Bird”, it was the area’s scenery that led her to love the area.

Silas House
While Silas hails from southeastern Kentucky, the writer calls Lexington his home. The New York Times best-selling author is known for books such as “Clay’s Quilt” and “Lark Ascending,” which cover life in Appalachia.

What did we miss? If you know an invention that’s not on the list, let us know using this survey.

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