Scotch whisky has been successfully registered as a certification trademark in South Africa, its seventh largest market by volume.
The drink is one of the first foreign registrations in South Africa with protection, making enforcement against counterfeit products being sold or passed off as Scotch whisky easier.
Currently Scotch whisky exports earn the UK £139 every second, more than £4 billion annually.
Exports to South Africa increased by 20.7% to £144m in 2017, with nearly 100 bottles shipped there every minute.
The legal protection of Scotch whisky is vital to its export success.
South Africa joins more than 100 other countries where Scotch whisky has been granted specific legal protection.
Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, which made the registration, said the move was “a milestone for Scotland’s national drink in our largest export market in Africa, and one of the largest in the world”.
She added: “This registration offers Scotch whisky a greater degree of legal protection and will allow us to prosecute rogue traders who seek to cash in on the heritage, craft and quality of genuine Scotch.
“Consumers can enjoy Scotch whisky confident that South Africa stands behind Scotch whisky as a Scottish product, produced according to traditional methods.
“Scotch whisky, the UK’s largest food and drink export, is growing in popularity in South Africa, with exports up over 20% last year alone.
“The legal protection of Scotch is another step towards the continued success of this iconic spirit.”
Scotch whisky is produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley and is distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8%.
It is wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres for at least three years.