Wet British summer causes shortage in sloe berries
The wet British summer has damaged the crop extensively, so making the popular alcoholic drink will be difficult.
Sloe berries are the last fresh fruit you can pick before the winter sets in.
Ray Townsend, arboretum manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, said it could be the cool spring and wet summer that meant the fruit did not flourish and ripen. He said fruit trees need mild weather to allow insects to pollinate, buds to burst and finally for the fruit to ripen.
"A number of crops, fruits and berries have suffered because it has not been a good year," he said.
The damson and plum harvest this year was poor and gardeners are reporting a shortage in tomatoes because of a lack of sunshine. However it has been a bumper year for mushroom and other fungi which flourish in wet weather.
Graeme Proctor, from Crown Nursery in Suffolk, said the weather had not been good for sloes for the last two summers.
He said: "Because last year's summer was very bad, it meant the fruit bud initiation on which this year's crop would grow was very poor. This led to fewer flower buds this spring.
"When they did flower the weather was very hot, in the 70s, followed by snow for a couple of weeks in April, which killed them off. If the fruit can't set it simply withers and drop off. "
He blamed climate change for the bad weather. He added: "For that reason [climate change], it's been a bad year for all stone fruit including plums. It's all down to global warming."
This, on top of the financial crisis, may make it an even worse British Christmas.