Author: Rich Duprey | July 02, 2018
Made in the U.S. of A
There may be partisan arguments these days on just what makes America great, but on this 242nd birthday of the United States we can still celebrate both the freedoms we possess and products that are not only quintessentially American, but are also still made in the U.S.A.
You may be surprised, for example, to learn the baseballs used by Major League Baseball are actually made in Costa Rica, but the Louisville Slugger bats continue to be manufactured in Kentucky, just as they have been since the 1880s.
So here are 10 products that remain red, white, and blue through and through.
1. Airstream trailers
The shiny silver Airstream trailer from the 1950s and 1960s may arguably be what one thinks of as the classic recreational vehicle, and while Thor Industries (NYSE: THO) still produces versions that harken back to its heyday, today's Airstream are modern marvels and just last month introduced its first-ever fiberglass production model called the Nest by Airstream. Airstreams are manufactured at Thor's Jackson Center, Ohio, facility where you can even take a two-hour tour to see how this archetypal American RV is made. Thor Industries doesn't break down how much revenue Airstream contributed to the total, but over the last nine months the RV maker sold some $6.5 billion worth of motorhomes.
2. Budweiser beer
Budweiser may be owned by Belgian brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), but the King of Beers is still brewed daily in its 12 U.S. breweries situated in 11 different states. Its Clydesdale horses are arguably more recognizable than the classic label and remain a popular and cherished part of its advertising. Anheuser-Busch has also received well-deserved praise for shutting down its beer making operations when natural disasters strike and producing cans of life-saving water to send to affected areas, .including, in the company's words, "Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, California, wherever you need us."
Across all of its brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev produced 113.5 hectoliters of beer in North America last year, equivalent to about 3 billion gallons.
3. Crayola crayons
There's probably hardly a U.S. adult alive today that didn't at some point in their life color with a Crayola crayon. First produced in 1903 with a box of eight basic colors (still produced today!), Crayola now offers boxes with dozens of crayons with crazy names like Razzmatazz (a raspberry shade), Inchworm (green -- duh!), and Macaroni and Cheese (yellow-orange, as you'd guess). Some 12 million crayons a day are produced at its Easton, Pennsylvania, factory, which has been transformed into a family-fun attraction.
4. Harley-Davidson motorcycles
There has been a lot of frustration over Harley-Davidson's (NYSE: HOG) decision to move production of motorcycles made for the European market to overseas factories to avoid tariffs the EU has imposed in response to new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Traditionally, Harleys have been manufactured here and shipped abroad to be assembled.
But the motorcycles being built for the U.S. market continue to be made here, and though the iconic bike-maker has seen sales slide in recent years -- they dipped 8% in 2017 -- there are few brands as famously American-made as Harley-Davidson.
5. Hershey chocolate
Founded in 1894, Hershey (NYSE: HSY) is one of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers. Not only did Milton Hershey make chocolate accessible to everyone, but he also made it fun, building a model town that had its own trolley system, houses, schools, and zoo. He eventually created an amusement park for his employees that today has grown into a major theme park that attracts millions of people every year.
The Hershey Kiss may be its most most famous confection, but the Hershey chocolate bar and even its chocolate syrup are equally well loved. The company has more than 80 brands around the world driving a combined $7.4 billion in annual revenue.
6. Jack Daniel's whiskey
What makes Jack Daniel's whiskey different from other kinds is that it is Tennessee whiskey, which means it's made using the so-called Lincoln County Process, where it is run through charcoal before being stored in new, charred-oak barrels. Like Harley-Davidson, Brown-Forman's (NYSE: BF-A)(NYSE: BF-B) Jack Daniel's is also being targeted for retaliatory tariffs, which will cause the distiller to raise whiskey prices overseas, though it won't be moving production out of Tennessee, where it has been producing Old No. 7 since 1866. Jack Daniel's represents almost 25% of Brown-Forman's total revenue.
Although today it is owned by appliance giant Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR), KitchenAid has been helping households cook since 1919 when it was introduced as a brand of electric stand mixers by Hobart. According to wedding site The Knot, a KitchenAid Stand Mixer "is by-far the single, most-registered-for item" on wedding registries because of its reputation for quality and durability. The KitchenAid brand generates over $1 billion in annual sales for Whirlpool
8. Lodge cast iron cookware
In an age of aluminum pots and Teflon coatings, cast iron cookware seems a throwback to an earlier time, but cooks worth their salt know there is no better utensil than cast iron cookware, and Lodge Manufacturing is one of the premier names in the industry. Founded in 1896 when Joseph Lodge opened his first foundry in Pittsburg, Tennessee, the company is still producing cookware in the area and is still run by the founder's descendant. Its cast iron pans continue to be prized heirlooms and handed down from one generation to the next.
9. Smith & Wesson handguns
Innovation has been the hallmark of Smith & Wesson firearms since they were first manufactured by Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson in 1852. First created to be able to fire a fully self-contained cartridge, itself an innovative feat, Smith & Wesson has gone on to become the biggest firearm manufacturer in the U.S., producing over 2.1 million pistols, revolvers, and rifles in 2016, the most recent data available. In a country filled with legendary firearms brands like Colt, Remington, and Winchester, American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ: AOBC) Smith & Wesson is every bit as iconic and is instantly recognizable as a truly all-American brand.
10. Yuengling & Son beer
America's largest craft brewer also happens to come from the country's oldest brewery, Yuengling & Son, that has been continuously family-owned and operated since 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania (it opened a second brewery in Tampa, Florida, in 1999.) In 2015, the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry trade group, recognized there were many ways to make quality craft beer and modified its definition to include unmalted grains, or those that haven't been partially germinated to release their enzymes. That allowed Yuengling to be officially included as a craft beer, which also immediately catapulted it to the top of the list as the country's biggest craft brewer, and it hasn't relinquished the title since.
Stars and stripes forever
This Fourth of July, as we light up our grills, set off fireworks, and drink our adult beverages of choice, we should take the time to reflect on the fact that we're citizens of a great country where there are still remarkable companies making quality products right here in the U.S. of A.
http://my.fool.com/profile/TMFCop/info.aspxhas no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Anheuser-Busch InBev NV. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.