3 Industries Unique to Central Kentucky


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In Central Kentucky, there are three leading industries that are distinct to the area. These industries cannot be found on the same scale anywhere else. Commercial real estate and industrial real estate for the region are shaped by these commerce areas.

Bourbon was created in Kentucky, and the state produces 95% of the world’s supply. It is the only territory that has the perfect combination of conditions, climate, and pure limestone water required for crafting the finest bourbon. It is an 8.5 billion dollar signature industry, and is responsible for generating 17,500 jobs with an $800 million annual payroll. An impressive 1,886,821 barrels of the nectar were filled by Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries in 2016. Since 1999, the production soared by an increase of over 315%. The tax-assessed value for all the barrels aging in the state in 2016 was $2.4 billion. This is a $299 million increase from the previous year, and a 135% increase in worth over the past ten years. Bourbon is exclusive to Kentucky and is one of the star industries for the state.

The agribusiness for Central Kentucky is heavily impacted by the equine industry. There are a multitude of sectors encompassed in the extensive industry such as racing, horse breeding and rearing, buying and selling, and tourism. In 2012, the equine industry boosted $3 billion for the state economy, and created 40,665 jobs. When the secondary impacts, like tourism, are considered, the job estimates can run as high as 96,000. Kentucky is the foremost producer of horses in the United States, and the leading producer of Thoroughbreds. The totaled amount of stud fees and horse sales for 2009 was 4.26 billion. This enormous contribution to the economy made horses the second most lucrative agricultural product for the state. The equine industry has had a serious impact on creating Kentucky’s identity; the state quarter and standard automobile license plate both feature images of a horse. The state is known as the Horse Capital of the World for this reason. 

The state massively benefits from the financial gains of the agriculture industry. In 2013, Kentucky farmers brought in a record $5.7 billion in farm cash receipts. The predominant agricultural product in the cash receipts, at over $1.2 billion, was eggs and poultry. East of the Mississippi River, Kentucky is the primary beef cattle state with over 1 million beef cows as of January 1, 2015. Burley tobacco, corn, dairy products, soybeans, wheat and hay, are other major contributors to the economy. A study conducted by the University of Kentucky in 2015, discovered that the state’s agricultural industry generated a direct and indirect total economic impact of $45.6 billion, and at least 258,000 jobs.

At NAI Isaac, we provide a complete range of commercial real estate services to prepare our clients for a lifetime of success. Our brokerage team specializes in many areas including the acquisition and disposition of commercial properties, this would be office, retail, mixed-use, and industrial real estate. We are located in Lexington, KY, to proudly serve the surrounding area. To discuss your real estate opportunities, call us today.

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