Utah Exports Shine: Exports from the Beehive State that might surprise you
Pictured above: Greg Easton, president and chairman of the board of Jas.D. Easton.
What if I told you the bow and arrows famously strapped across the back of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games movies were not only made in Utah, but are Utah exports? Would you believe me if I told you that a bowling ball manufactured in Utah has won more professional tournaments in the last 10 years than any other bowling ball? Or that Utah is home to one of the few distilleries in the west?
When people hear that Utah has made a name for itself internationally, their minds automatically go to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games or the global reach of the LDS Church. These are both elements of Utah’s global footprint, but exports play a significant role in putting Utah on the map as well. Here are a few world-renowned Utah products that might surprise you.
Last month, the world’s most accomplished athletes gathered in Rio to compete for medals and glory at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The millions of viewers who watched the archery competitions saw Utah products in the hands of most of the athletes, as all but a few archers shot Easton Technical Products arrows and more than half shot with Hoyt Archery bows.
Both Easton Technical Products and Hoyt Archery are part of the holding company Jas.D.Easton, Inc., which was started by Doug Easton in Southern California in 1922. Though the bow and arrow business started small, growth took off rapidly in the ‘40s when Easton revolutionized archery by developing aluminum arrows.
In the early 1980s, Easton acquired Hoyt Archery, founded by legendary bow designer Earl Hoyt. The acquisition was particularly successful because Hoyt’s innovative focus perfectly aligned with Easton’s, and these traits continue to drive the company today. Hoyt primarily produces high-end, high-performance archery products.
Easton has had manufacturing facilities in Salt Lake since 1980. Over the last 10 years, the corporate headquarters moved from California to Utah. The company employs about 600 people, 500 of which are in Utah.
Both Hoyt and Easton Technical Products have a strong market presence outside of the U.S. The companies sell to distributors in more than 30 countries and 30 percent of business comes from exports.
It is impossible to talk about Easton and Hoyt products without mentioning the cameos they make on the silver screen. Rambo, Hawkeye, and Katniss have all shot Hoyt bows and Easton arrows. It is pretty cool to think Olympians, superheroes, archers and hunters alike turn to a Utah company for their bow and arrow needs.
High West Distillery
It would be hard to talk about surprising Utah exports without mentioning High West Distillery. Why did founders David and Jane Perkins choose to locate a distillery in Utah? One of the main reasons was the state’s rich whiskey history.
Utah was part of the Old West era when mountain men held whiskey-filled rendezvous and saloons were the local hot spots. Whiskey remained prevalent even after the pioneers settled the land; they used alcohol as a medicine and as a way to keep their food from spoiling.
Around 1870, distilleries in the state disappeared. High West became the first legal distillery to locate in Utah in more than 130 years when they decided to call Park City home in 2007.
Utah’s Old West history combined with Park City’s beautiful landscapes and high volume of tourists were a recipe for success for High West Distillery. The company’s more than 200 employees support the production of ryes, bourbons and barrel-aged cocktails, as well staff a restaurant located in historic Park City.
High West Distillery differentiates itself by focusing on blends, which have proved to be very popular. In fact, the company’s Rendezvous Rye got a 95 point score on Whiskey Advocate.
An international brand, High West sells to the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and China. The restaurant in Park City also contributes to one of Utah’s top exports: tourism. More than 200,000 people a year visit the saloon to have a delicious meal or the distillery to partake in a whiskey tasting.
Storm Products, Inc.
Owned and operated by Bill Chrisman, Storm Products started with an idea in the early ‘90s and through a lot of hard work grew into a thriving business. The company produces more high-performance bowling balls than any other company in the world, and it is located in rural Brigham City.
Innovation and performance are what set Storm Products apart from competitors. The balls have received a lot of attention for their unique three-color process and use of fragrances. Storm infuses balls with scents that range from maple syrup to aroma therapy, which is a pretty unique differentiator.
Storm’s reach goes beyond its rural roots to countries all over the globe. Employing approximately 160 people at facilities in Utah, Texas and California, the company sells to more than 70 countries.
Thanks to companies like Jas.D.Easton, High West Distillery and Storm Products, Utah continues to make a name for itself internationally. While their products are surprising, the most important takeaway from their stories is that any product from any location has export potential.
Derek B. Miller is the president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah, an organization dedicated to helping Utah companies think, act and succeed globally.