Monkey Hanger Gin

The Legendary Tale Behind North East’s Monkey Hanger Gin

Las Vegas, Hawaii and Monkey Hanger Co. Caroline Dask gets an insider scoop into Amelia Pearce’s American dream…

The legend is as old as time, the lone survivor of a French warship gets captured by the fisherman in Hartlepool. The short and furry captive is in a military uniform, immediately presumed to be a French spy, as the Hartlepool fishermen have never seen one before. It is only after his hanging that the locals learn that they have, in fact, hung a monkey.

This legend which is so familiar to most of us, has now spread into the deep oceans with the help of Amelia Pearce, founder of Monkey Hanger Co. Born and bred in Hartlepool, she now spends her days surrounded by the outstanding scenery of the United States.

Having lived in Las Vegas for nine years, Amelia now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii, a long way from Hartlepool. However, the legend, that brings a sense of comfort and home, is still with her.

“The company I was working for was acquired by an American owner in 2013 and I suddenly found myself with an opportunity to move to Las Vegas. I couldn’t possibly say no to the American dream, so I went with it.

“I ended up with a role in construction equipment marketing and I lived in Las Vegas for quite a few years. However, recently, my fiance has just got an opportunity to relocate to Honolulu, Hawaii, so we’re currently in the process of moving,” Amelia smiles.

A quick look behind her shoulder confirms the distance between us. It’s the late afternoon here at Luxe HQ, but the window behind Amelia suggests her day is just beginning.

Monkey Hanger Gin – Born out of Passion

Monkey Hanger Gin

With an extensive background in marketing and an impressive career history, Amelia is a force to be reckoned with. In April 2022, she took all her experience, knowledge and drive, and started her own marketing agency Industria, targeted towards the construction equipment sector. After all, it’s the industry she has lived and breathed for so long.

“I’ve actually got two businesses!” Amelia laughs as I raise my eyebrows with one thought in my head: ‘Is there anything this woman can’t do!?’

“While Industria is in the sector in which I’ve been working for more than a decade, Monkey Hanger Co. was born out of my love for cooking and spirits – the little pleasures in life,” she smiles.

“When travelling around the world for work, a common question I get asked is always ‘Where are you from?’. I think my North East accent has something to do with it!

“I often tell people the story of my hometown, and they’re always so fascinated. Especially by the monkey hanger legend. So, I took something close to my heart, mixed it with my dream to create an e-commerce business and there it was.”

The name Monkey Hanger Co. might sound familiar, as it has been creating waves in the North East for a while. Their gin, crafted in a small village just outside of Hartlepool, is made in small batches to a custom recipe, infused with elderflower, Turkish rose and liquorice – a taste that’s just as unique as it sounds.

“The business actually first started with coffee,” Amelia explains.

Fabulous Taste

Monkey Hanger Gin

“We partnered with a coffee roaster in Southern California to produce a range of 12 coffees. The coffee is specialty-grade, scoring over 80 points on a hundred point scale, and truly, some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. So we launched with that and focused mainly on the US and Canada markets.

“As we were already selling in The States, I was looking for a product in the UK, and as it happens, gin is my favourite beverage, so I decided I wanted to go down that route.”

“I wanted to bring something new and unique to the market because I know there are many forms of gin out there. PitWheel Distillery has really helped us in that department, as they brought their genius to curate the perfect recipe.

“We dropped juniper down a little bit, as a lot of gins are very juniper forward. We switched out coriander seeds with orris root and balanced it with elderflower, which gives that floral and sweet taste to it.

“It’s also got a little bit of spice and a hint of saffron, so it’s a unique mix of ingredients, that results in a fresh profile,” Amelia says.

A quick look at the company’s website aligns perfectly with Amelia’s vision. It’s a fun and light company with the aim to be respectful to everyone it comes in contact with. From customers to supplies and stakeholders.

“Our main aim is to bring quality products while staying approachable. It’s still early days for us but we try to maintain this vision through the addition of other products, such as merchandise.”

Monkey Hanger Gin – a Proud Moment

Monkey Hanger Gin

“I’ve worked in global marketing my whole life and so the plan to launch in both the UK and US markets was intentional. The difference between these two is that it’s sometimes harder to communicate the unique backstory of the Monkey Hanger Co. brand, as naturally, Americans are not familiar with it.”

Reminiscing on the journey so far, Amelia brings up a proud moment when The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool has become one of their stockists.

“It’s a bit surreal, as it’s just a three-minute walk from where I used to live. It’s a pinch me moment and I’m extremely proud of it.”

As Amelia and I bond over our love for the North East, the conversation suddenly shifts to our shared passion for gin and tonic. Not long after, we’re exchanging our favourite recipes.

“Now that I’ve got my own gin, there’s a lot of cocktail experimenting going on!” Amelia laughs.

Beyond our shared love, Amelia and I share the same decision to leave our home country and start a life far away. With this in common, I’m curious whether she ever feels nostalgic for home.

In Search for Tea

“I do miss it. I miss having a really good roast dinner, and a good cup of tea. Of course, I have the option to have those here in the US, but it just doesn’t taste the same.

“Having lived in the UK for 30 years I miss my friends and family, I miss the friendly faces of the North East, you tend to take it for granted when you’re there, but once you move away, you quickly come to realise how warm people from the North East are.

“I don’t dismiss the chance of coming back. Life is funny that way, you never know what might happen,” she smiles.

Speaking of tea, when asked what’s next for her business, Amelia shares her desire to extend the drinks range of Monkey Hanger Gin. An extension, that involves more than just spirits.

“We’re interested in bringing tea, launching our coffee into different markets beyond the US, and growing worldwide. As we’re so new, we have a lot of big plans, but our long term goal is to have our products available in each market.

“As for my personal life, I’m planning a wedding!” she shares.

With big congratulations in order, I’m left with admiration for Amelia. Building a business in two different markets, running Industria, Monkey Hanger Gin and planning a wedding sounds like a lot, but she does it just as fabulously as ever.